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WTO aims to conclude Doha round of talks by end 2014

Roberto Azevedo, director general of WTO, was talking on sidelines of CII Partnership Summit

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Riding on the success of World Trade Organisation () agreement reached at Bali in December last year, the WTO aims to work towards concluding the Doha round of talks by end of 2014, said , director general of WTO.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of , here today, he said, “I think the Bali outcome gives the boost to the system itself in terms of credibility and relevance. The process of implementation of Bali agreements has already begun among the member countries. We are now focusing on concluding the Doha round of talks.”

When asked what is the time period set by the WTO to conclude Doha talks, he said the WTO does not want to wait for another 12-13 years to conclude.

“We have until the end of the year time to figure out what programme to be taken to conclude the programme. We have already started the work on the implementation of Bali agreements. The preparatory work for trade facilitation has been established and it is going to meet next week,” Azevedo said.

Doha round aims to remove hurdles to commerce and establish a globally binding framework of trade rules fair to both rich and poor countries.

Earlier, speaking at the plenary session of the partnership summit on the topic: “Entering into a new trade era post Bali”, he said with the conclusion of Bali round of talks the job is not finished for WTO.

As agreed by 160 member countries of WTO at Bali, Azevedo said the agreements would enable infusion of $1 trillion worth of trade into the global economy and create 21 million jobs, of which 18 million would be in the developing countries. “The year 2014 is the year to put back on track the Doha round of talks. We are in the process of creating a roadmap for reviving Doha,” he said.

“What we have agreed in Doha is the centrality of three things such as Food security, livelihood and rural development. At the same of time, the three pillars were discussed, that is agriculture, NAMA (Non agriculture market access) and services. That must remain the focus of the talks,” Azevedo said.

At the ninth ministerial conference of WTO held on December 7, 2013 in Bali, Indonesia, the members reached an agreement, the first broad based agreement since the WTO's creation in 1995, on ‘Bali package of trade concessions’, which included trade facilitation measure meant to modernize customs procedures, as well as provisions on agriculture and economic development.

Azevedo said the agreement was arrived at, especially after India demanded and got concessions to ensure its prime concern of food security to the poor in the country, livelihood security and rural development.

On the way forward for he said now with the Bali ‘parameter’ in place, the countries have to decide on their next goals. We have to be flexible, innovative and creative. We have to break the deadlock,’’ he stressed.

The WTO chief appreciated India’s concern for food security and said the country will be a central player to find a permanent solution in food security world over.

He said Doha Development Agenda (DDA) is a big issue and had to be tackled together by all 160 member countries under the WTO with an open mind and creativity. The base for development should be inclusivity.

Speaking on the occasion Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said India got due recognition for its demand relating to agriculture, non agricultural market access and services and the three sectors should remain WTO’s focus.

 ‘’Bali declaration proved that WTO has not collapsed. India has its own commitment towards the organization and it can now do more and take the WTO process to the next step. Our country has remained finitely committed to multi-lateral regime. The urgent need is to correct the inherent imbalance between countries, especially the least developed countries,’’ he said.

Sharma said the Bali declaration was the ‘first harvest’ and the time had arrived to sow the seeds for the next. ‘’The next harvest is more ambitious,’’ he said.

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