Kamal Nath calls for improved competitiveness

January 30th, 2009 - 9:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) Emphasising the need for continued economic liberalisation, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath Friday said improved competitiveness, not isolation, was needed to face global competition.“Governments must pursue domestic policies that allow their citizens to thrive in the global economy. The solution to global competition is improved competitiveness, not isolation,” he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

An official statement here quoted the minister as saying that governments should also strengthen the health and education of citizens and build the necessary trade-related infrastructure.

Talking about the threat of rising protectionism, Kamal Nath said: “These protectionist measures could take the shape of erection of illegitimate trade barriers (both tariff and non-tariff) to free trade with a view to protecting their domestic industry.”

According to him, security concerns may also emerge as threats to free flow of goods and services.

Along with Celso Amorim, Brazil’s Minister for External Relations, Kamal Nath tried to identify possible ways to re-activate the multilateral trade negotiations of the stalled World Trade Organisation’s Doha Round of talks.

He also discussed the recent seizure in the Netherlands of generic medicines produced in India and imported by Brazil while the shipment was in transit in Dutch territory.

“This decision is a serious setback for the principle of universal access to medicines, running against the spirit of resolution 2002/31 of the Commission on Human Rights on the right to enjoy the highest standards of physical and mental health,” Kamal Nath said.

Both ministers agreed to denounce the seizure of medicines at the next meeting of the WTO’s General Council, scheduled for Feb 3.

The ministers also agreed that both countries would act in close coordination, not only in the WTO but also at other relevant forums.

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