Friday, September 16, 2011

WTO members praise India for reforms

Several WTO members, including Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, China, Pakistan and the European Union, praised India for pursuing bold trade and development-friendly initiatives despite serious economic and social challenges.

During India's trade policy review meeting at the WTO, which provides a platform for members to review New Delhis overall trade and macro-economic policies, India's commerce secretary Rahul Khullar outlined about the governments trade and macro-economic reforms in the face of raging global economic crisis.

India's average applied tariffs are currently around 8.9 percent. The government has also streamlined its customs procedures and trade facilitation measures during the last four years since the last trade policy review in 2007.

"Developing countries need to address their core concerns of food and livelihood security, besides promoting rural development, while undertaking liberalisation commitments," Khullar said in Geneva on Wednesday.

"It is important for India and other developing countries to be able to protect the interests of their nascent and vulnerable industries," he said, arguing that "the development interests of such industries cannot be sacrificed at the altar of mercantilist demands, which seem utterly oblivious to the fate of millions of people living on truly meagre incomes.

He said India is disappointed at ongoing attempts to "sidestep the core issues and come up with a new agenda" at this juncture.

Turkeys trade envoy Ambassador Bozkurt Aran who was the discussant for the trade policy review meeting said the ongoing economic development in some sophisticated hi-tech areas in India coupled with growing dependence on agriculture and rising inequalities are like the tale two cities.

Brazils trade envoy Ambassador Roberto Azevedo said countries like needed policy space for developing their nascent and vulnerable industries.

China praised India for pursuing open and development-friendly economic and trade policies, arguing that there is still room for expansion in the two-way investment and trade areas.

India is a very influential country, Mexicos trade envoy Ambassador Fernando de Mateo said, saying the two way-trade between Mexico and India has increased by seven times to USD 3 billion.

The European Unions ambassador Angelo Pangratis said Brussels wants to conclude the bilateral free trade agreement soon. He said the EU and India are working hard to promote trade and counter protectionism.

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