Sharma pitches for balanced package at WTO meeting


Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma pitched for a "balanced package" for the least developed and developing countries in the WTO's forthcoming talks at the ministerial level which is scheduled for in December in Bali.


 Anand Sharma, who is in Geneva, discussed the roadmap to Bali Ministerial meeting with key Ambassadors to WTO. Sharma is at the World Intellectual Property Organisation Headquarters for a High Level Policy Dialogue. 

Sharma said that while India is not opposed to Trade Facilitation, there is a need for an internal balance in the Trade Facilitation proposal with adequate special and differential treatment for developing countries and LDCs and Small and Vulnerable Economies.

He also argued for providing technical and financial support to such economies so that they benefit from trade facilitation.

The Minister also supported a LDC Package including Duty Free Quota Free market access, which countries like India and China have already implemented, must be part of the Bali package. 

Underscoring the fact that emerging economies have to carry a disproportionate burden of poverty and huge income disparities Sharma said that they therefore merit a special and preferential treatment.

Sharma mentioned that India strongly endorses G-33 proposal for food security and flexibility in their public stock holding operations for public distribution system. The interest of subsistence farmers in developing and poor countries have to be recognized and protected, said Shri Sharma. 

Taking note of emerging plurilateral arrangements, the Minister strongly emphasized the need to uphold the centrality of multilateralism and WTO as an institution for creating a rule-based global trading regime. 

The 9th WTO Ministerial Conference will take place from December 3-6 in Bali. The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of the 158-member multi-lateral Organisation which meets at least every two years.