India ready for talks if Lamy gets positive U.S. response

Business Line, August 14, 2008

NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday reiterated its willingness to join the global trade talks if World Trade Organisation Director-General Pascal Lamy gets a positive response from the U.S. next week for resolving the Doha deadlock on safeguards for farmers in developing countries.

“We have always said if the WTO Director-General feels there is a chance for [another] opening, then we will be prepared to come again to Geneva,” Commerce Secretary G.K. Pillai told journalists on the sidelines of a FICCI-CUTS conference here.

He said Mr. Lamy “would get back to us” after his visit to the U.S. and consultations with others.

Participating in a panel discussion, Mr. Lamy said there was a critical need for building consensus “as there is no other option available at this time.”

He said world trade had dramatically changed in the last two decades. “We now have 15 trade unions [country and regional groupings] within the WTO, which as powerful coalitions negotiate on the nitty-gritties of trade.” He emphasised the need to probe whether the rules encompassing the multilateral trading system reflected the pro-development stance. There was much greater participation, Mr. Lamy said. “In reality, in the ‘Green Room’ of today all the leaders of the Trade Unions [40 Ministers from different countries] are present.”

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