India disappointed with WTO ministerial outcome
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India on Tuesday said it is disappointed with the outcome of the recent WTO Ministerial in Geneva as "nothing" substantive was done to resolve the differences to free global commerce.
"Essentially we just went round and round ...we all pretend (that) we are making great progress. But nothing was really going on," Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said at a Ficci conference here on Tuesday.
Khullar, who was part of the Indian delegation headed by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said, "we (WTO members) did nothing" and spent time discussing trivia and all those ridiculous details totally irrelevant...to the substance of the negotiations".
He said the main hurdle for the trade talks was a non-serious attitude of the Obama administration which is yet to put in place its negotiators. "The other nations are saying 'look guys your negotiators are not in place...you cannot take it for ever and ever...,'" he said.
Khullar said the US administration is pre-occupied with its healthcare reform issues. "Trade is not uppermost in anybody's (in the US) agenda." However, the message has gone around that if no serious effort is made to move on with the talks, there could be "serious trouble and you will ruin the credibility both of the ministers and most importantly of the WTO". He said the ministers must meet again some time in March.
Trade ministers from 153 countries gathered in the WTO headquarters on November 30. However, hardcore negotiations mainly regarding the Doah Round talks, were kept off the business.
While the ministers discussed ways to complete the negotiations on the sidelines, nothing concrete could be worked.
"Because whenever you approached anything remotely controversial, everybody headed for the bunkers...so no negotiations...nothing...," Khullar said.
The negotiations on the Doha Round have been going on since 2001 and the world leaders at different summits, including Pittsburgh and L'Aquila, had underlined the need for concluding the talks.
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