Lamy seeks India’s support for next move on Doha

The Hindu, August 12, 2008

Within a fortnight of the collapse of trade talks in Geneva, a die-hard optimist WTO chief today sought clear “political” signal from the Indian leadership whether New Delhi will support the renewed attempts to wrap up a Doha deal by year-end.

After exuding confidence that there was still a possibility to reach a market opening and subsidy cut agreement among 153 nations, World Trade Organisation Director General Pascal Lamy met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“Lamy sought a political message from the Prime Minister whether India wants to keep working or take time out,” a source close to WTO Director General said.

Lamy would be visiting Washington next week to assess the political mood in the US administration as well. “My simple message here in Delhi and next week in Washington is that (members should) look carefully at what is on the table and not on results,” he said at a CII meeting.

Earlier in the day, sharing a FICCI-CUTS platform with Lamy, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said India is ready for another go at reaching an agreement, if flaws which work in favour of the developed nations are removed.

“India is committed to the round,” Nath said adding the industrialised nations have to come to the negotiations not with a mindset of “what you can get, but what you can give”.

However, if the principles of discussions have to change keeping in view the interest of the rich nations, “it would be a tough going” he said.

The two also held one-to-one meeting and discussed how to pick up threads again. “The good news is there may be still a possibility to move this forward and conclude negotiations within the time-frame, that is end-2008,” Lamy said.

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