INDUSTRY TO BE CONSULTED ON WTO
NON-AGRICULTURAL MARKET ACCESS NEGOTIATIONS - ARUN JAITLEY
MINI MINISTERIAL SESSION ON NON-AGRI MARKET ACCESS
The government will
hold extensive consultations with the industry on issues relating
to the ongoing non-agricultural market access negotiations in
the World Trade Organisation (WTO) before finalising its stand.
This was indicated by Shri Arun Jaitley, Minister of Commerce
and Industry and Law and Justice, in his intervention at the Session
on Non-Agricultural Market Access at the informal WTO Ministerial
Meeting at Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt last evening.
Shri Jaitley said
that the modalities for negotiations on non-agricultural products
must fully factor in the needs of developing countries for a more
flexible use of tariffs to assist their economic development and
to meet their specific need for maintaining tariffs for revenue
purposes as recognised in the Doha Declaration. " We have a large
number of industries
in the sensitive sectors including the small scale sector (SSI)
who are large employment opportunity providers as well as a significant
plantation sector where tariff mechanisms have to be used for
safeguarding the domestic industries", the Minister emphasised.
He also pointed out that many developing countries were transforming
autonomously from high tariffs to relatively low tariff regimes.
India favours a linear approach to tariff reduction with modalities
for tackling the issue of tariff peaks, which would meet the requirement
of the Doha mandate, he said.
Shri Jaitley welcomed
the proposal to provide a 5 % flexibility to developing countries
for keeping certain items unbound (i.e., not subject to commitment).
initiatives for elimination of tariffs in certain sectors, Shri
Jaitley made it clear that India was generally against such initiatives
as producers in India as also in other developing countries faced
inherent cost disadvantages due to higher cost of capital and
higher infrastructural costs. These disadvantages would take substantial
investment and time to overcome, the Minister said.