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Key WTO members to meet in Paris this week to push Doha talks

NEW DELHI: Seeking to push the long-stalled Doha Round of talks for reaching aglobal trade deal, trade ministers from keyWTO member countries, including India and Australia are scheduled to meet in Paris on Thursday.

"The meeting was convened by Australia. About 15 trade ministers including from Indonesia are expected to participate in the meeting. There is an urgent need for political intervention for a positive outcome at the forthcoming 
Bali meet," an official said. 

However, the 
US Trade Representative and Chinese trade minister are unlikely to attend the meeting to be held on May 30. 

"The ministers are also expected to discuss economic scenario of the world and its impact on the global trade. They may also discuss a package for least developed countries," the official said. 

The meeting, to be attended by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, would be hosted by the Australian government on the sidelines of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) meeting in Paris. 

The outgoing Director General of the World Trade Organisation 
Pascal Lamy is also expected to attend the meet besides EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. 

"The ministers are expected to underscore the need for renewing interest in the stalled Doha Round of global trade negotiations," the official added. 

The key WTO members are trying to resolve some of the major issues and reach a consensus on a early harvest package which would benefit all the members. 

Under the early harvest, rich nations, including the US, want India and other emerging economies to be part of the four major sectoral pacts -- TF, information technology, environmental goods and international services agreement. 

The Doha talks, launched in 2001, have missed several deadlines due to divergent views on some of the issues like agriculture subsidies between the developed countries like US and the developing nations such as India. 

The 9th WTO Ministerial Conference is scheduled to take place from December 3-6 in Bali, Indonesia. The Conference is the highest decision-making body of the 158-member strong WTO. It meets every two years.