India Inc. against sectoral tariff negotiations: Ficci

December 14th, 2008 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) Indian industry is strongly against any mandatory sectoral tariff initiatives in non-agricultural market access (NAMA) negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), according to a leading industry lobby.”While the latest NAMA text has correctly mentioned the lack of consensus among members on this issue, at the same time it reflects intense pressure from developed countries, particularly the US, for including sectoral tariff negotiations into the Doha outcome,” Amit Mitra, secretary general, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), said in a statement.

Of late, US negotiators have been demanding inclusion in the modalities, specific recognition that acceptance of the final NAMA deal (including formula and flexibilities) would depend on satisfactory conclusion of sectoral agreements.

Simultaneously, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) of the US, which has been consistently pressing for sectoral tariff negotiations, has recently stated that the WTO ministerial meeting must await consensus on sectoral agreements.

NAM is of the view that India, along with Brazil and China, must participate in major sectorals to eliminate tariffs in industrial machinery, chemicals and electronics and electrical industries.

“Such a position is clearly unacceptable to Indian industry because this is not consistent with the till now agreed parameters of negotiations,” Ficci said, referring to the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration.

“At Hong Kong, ministers have unambiguously mandated that participation in sectorals should be on a non-mandatory basis. It would be rather unfortunate if Doha negotiations now stumble on the issue of sectorals while the mandate is quite clear on this,” said Mitra.

“Recent industry consultations organised by the Ficci suggested that any provision for ‘mandatory’ sectorals at this stage would destabilise and harm Indian industry, including our micro, small and medium enterprises,” Mitra said, adding: “That is why it is absolutely must for India to keep sectorals as strictly ‘non-mandatory’.”

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