The Union Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles Shri Anand Sharma today met outgoing Director-General, World Trade Organisation (WTO) Mr. Pascal Lamy and Director-General, WTO- Designate Mr. Roberto Carvalho de AzevÃªdo in Paris.
During the meeting, Shri Sharma told them that India will play a constructive role in ensuring successful outcome in the Bali Ministerial. While recognising the importance of Trade Facilitation (TF) and upgrading infrastructure at border, ports and custom procedures for giving a boost to exports, Shri Sharma underscored the need for addressing the concerns of food security which have been outlined in a proposal presented by G-33 countries. This is essential to protect the interest of the subsistence farmers in developing countries and also the responsibility of the state for assuring food security for the poor and vulnerable section of the society, said Shri Sharma. He also mentioned that government procurement of food grains for public distribution system under MSP mechanism cannot be diluted. This assumes importance as the Food Security Bill is pending before the Parliament.
Regarding the possibility of early harvest at Bali Ministerial, Shri Sharma stressed that it must address the concerns of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and small and vulnerable economies to ensure that the development dimension of Doha Round is retained.
Shri Sharma assured Mr. Lamy and Mr. AzevÃªdo that India will remain fully engaged with all key stakeholders from the developed and developing countries to find a fair and balanced outcome in Bali. Shri Sharma stressed that the centrality of multilateral processes must be retained. All nations need to work together to strengthen WTO as an institution.
Shri Sharma also reviewed the progress of India-European Union Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) with EU Trade Commissioner Mr. Karel de Gucht. In the meeting, Shri Sharma emphatically underscored the need for addressing India™s concerns on providing data secure status. EU is willing to set up a Joint Working Group which will look at all the technical aspects to ensure that India will be able to achieve necessary compliance for data security purposes.
Shri Sharma also met Mr. Rob Davies, Minister for Trade, South Africa and Mr. Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia Pacific Gateway, Canada. Shri Sharma also met Mr. Tim Groser, Minister of Trade, New Zealand and Mr. Gita Wirjawan, Minister of Trade, Indonesia. Later in the day, Shri Sharma will attend an informal WTO Ministerial meeting which will discuss the possible outcome at December Bali Ministerial.