Advantage India on NAMA

India lodged a protest last week that the NAMA agenda was skewed in favor of developed nations. It had warned that any attempt by the EU and parties to further talks that excluded Indian interest could end in an impasse and stall further negotiations.

The VOI (voice of India) has yielded the intended result.!

Refer to Spicyip post for more on this.

The Revised draft on the Modalities on Agriculture and NAMA (non- agriculture market access) was circulated this week, one that New Delhi has welcomed cautiously.

Noteworthy is the fact that some key point of convergence has been reached on issues pertaining to agriculture in areas that were left unreconciled in the earlier talks..

In a statement issued here, the Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Kamal Nath, maintains that a final view on the two texts by the two Negotiating Chairs of the WTO would be possible only after holding consultations with other Ministries, domestic stakeholders, and India’s partner countries in Geneva.

While stating that the Agriculture text distills the progress made in negotiations between September 2007 and January 2008 with convergence in some areas, Mr Nath said the Chair has also put out brand new text in some other unresolved areas and these would require detailed deliberations e.g. Special Products (SPs), Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM), Special Safeguards, Tropical Products and Tariff Simplification. (Hindu Business Line)

However issues of divergence still exist

It’s the crying baby that gets the milk and India is not one to give up its demands in areas such as OTDS (overall trade distorting domestic support)market access in sensitive products and tariff capping)as a sell out in these areas would adversely impact Indian farmers.

Another progressive proposal from the G-20 camp is the reduction to a minimum of 54% on agricultural tariffs for developed and 36% for the developing countries. The WTO accords flexibilities for a ‘differential’ (not ‘discriminatory’) treatment based on countrywise economic gradations. India has espoused the cause of a two thirds proportionality between developed and developing countries.

By and large the talks seem to be proceeding on constructive lines and signals a healthy trend.Going by this one can reasonably expect within metes and bounds (and hope) the talks to assume a healthy bounce.

Monica Seles has announced her official announcement from the tennis circuit. We will miss both her game and the grunts on court.

But yes, on a note of cautious optimism it appears to veer towards an ‘Advantage India’ on NAMA and the trade lobby circuit.


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