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TWN Info on WTO Issues (June03/12)

Third World Network

23 June 2003

Dear friends and colleagues

Re:  INDIA CAUTIONS ON SINGAPORE ISSUES, AT EGYPT MINI MINISTERIAL

As you know, the “Mini Ministerial” WTO meeting in Egypt took place over the weekend.

For your information, below are two press releases from the Indian Government summarising the statements made by India at that meeting, on the Singapore Issues and on other issues.

with best wishes

Martin Khor

Third World Network

 

 

 

Press Information Bureau

Government of India

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INDIA CAUTIONS ON SINGAPORE ISSUES

New Delhi: 23 June, 2003

Participating in the informal meeting of WTO trade ministers at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, India has cautioned on Singapore issues by stating that the structure and content of the Singapore issues are still unclear and hence, has reservations about entering into negotiations of any kind without a full understanding of the nature and structure of the agreement that would result from such negotiations. India’s statement on Singapore issues i.e., investment, transparency in government procurement, competition policy and trade facilitation, was read out on behalf of the Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Arun Jaitley at the Session on Singapore issues on 22nd June by Shri S.N. Menon, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, as the Minister had to leave for Beijing to join the Prime Minister on his official visit to China.

The statement said that India had consistently opposed expansion of the WTO agenda to include new issues. “However, in view of the interest shown by some trading partners, we embarked on a clarification process, following the decision taken at Doha. This was subject to the condition that negotiations on modalities of (discussing) these issues will proceed after Cancun only after an explicit consensus... We have engaged actively in the process of consultation in the three Working Groups constituted for the purpose ... However, the position is that the structure and content of the Singapore issues is still unclear. For example, we do not know the scope and definition of investment: whether it is confined to foreign direct investment that contributes to trade or whether it includes portfolio investment and other short-term forms of capital flows; whether a multilateral Agreement would lead to more investment and in respect of pre-establishment, what about sovereignty and policy space. There is no clarity regarding the scope of competition, whether it applies both to international and national cartels and, if the former, what kind of multilateral arrangement will come into existence for the purpose. We have not even defined the scope of transparency in government procurements and there is no definite view on the threshold levels or on whether it would apply to entities other than federal governments. We are not convinced about the need of multilateralism on these issues”.

Stating that a political mandate to take a decision on negotiation of modalities was possible only after a clear understanding of the issues involved in a multilateral framework on the Singapore issues and that negotiations could not commence on the basis of procedural modalities, the statement also made the point that the Singapore issues could not be regarded as being part of one bundle to be treated alike in the matter of modalities. At the same time, India would participate constructively in the discussions on these issues in Geneva under the aegis of the WTO General Council, as in the past, the statement added.

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SB/PM/MRS “16”

http://pib.nic.in

Press Information Bureau

Government of India

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INDIA CALLS FOR MEANINGFUL PACKAGE ON IMPLEMENTATION, S&D ISSUES AND RESOLUTION OF TRIPS & PUBLIC HEALTH BEFORE CANCUN

New Delhi: 23 June, 2003

India has called for a meaningful package on Implementation and Special and Differential (S&D) treatment issues as well as resolution of the TRIPS and Public Health issue before Cancun as these constitute some of the cardinal elements of the Doha Work Programme as far as the developing countries are concerned.

Pointing to the considerable dissatisfaction at the delay in finding solution to problems raised by developing countries, India’s intervention during the Session on Development Issues at the informal meeting of the WTO trade ministers hosted by Egypt at Sharm El-Sheikh on 22 June said: “We must not lose sight of the implementation issues on which we had taken certain decisions at Doha. Some of them, which have great commercial value for developing countries, had been referred to WTO bodies for finalisation and implementation. We would expect positive results on some of these issues before Cancun. I refer in particular to the operationalisation of Article 15 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement on which recommendations were due by November last year, cooperation between customs administrations for the prevention of fraud, which was to be resolved by December last year and our proposals relating to the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, due for decision by 31 July 2002. I would request the Chairman, General Council and the DG/WTO to ensure that a process is also set in motion to ensure completion of this and other unfinished work before Ministers meet again at Cancun”.

With regard to S&D issues, it noted that there appeared to be some progress with the WTO General Council categorising under three heads specific issues raised by developing and least developed countries rather than broad cross-cutting issues and expressed the hope that this new exercise would yield concrete results before Cancun. The statement of the Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Arun Jaitley was read out by Shri S.N. Menon, Additional Secretary, as the Minister had to leave on 22 June to join the Prime Minister in Beijing.

 


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