WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong
Big compromises by India for notional gains
Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) has described the outcome of the sixth WTO'sministerial conference held in Hong Kong from December 13 to 18 as ?big compromises by India for fictitious gains?. Talking to mediapersons in New Delhi, Shri Murlidhar Rao, SJM convener who led a three-member SJM team to Hong Kong, said: ?In a nutshell, India has made all the compromises for the rich nations just in lieu of elimination of their five billion dollar export subsidies by the year 2013 out of a total agro-subsidy of over $365 billion. In this regard too we have accepted the sovereignty of the European Union'scommon agricultural accord approved at Brussels, where they had mandated their export subsidies to last till 2013.? Shri Rao said for mere promise of eliminating export subsidies by the rich nations by 2013 and agreeing for some special products India has agreed to give market access to them in agricultural as well as industrial goods. He said the recripocal market access being granted by the rich nations would be obstructed by several non-tariff barriers.
He said the last minute surrender by Shri Kamalnath at Hong Kong had jeopardised national interests, frustrated other developing countries and undermined the future prospects of the unity of developing countries. ?When all the developing counties were firm in seeking elimination of export subsidies and substantial cut in domestic support by the developed countries by the year 2010, Shri Kamalnath, who was one of the architects of forging unprecedented unity of 110 developing countries, took a U-turn, for the reasons best known to him leaving several allies high and dry,? Shri Rao said, adding that Shri Nath openly conceded European nations? demand to end export subsides by 2013 instead of 2010 at the displeasure of others in the alliance. ?Now when the rich counties have made no commitments to reduce their domestic support to the agriculture, our conceding of greater market access in agro-products would expose our farm produce to greater competition from abroad. Already when a large number of farmers have been committing suicide due to growing global competition, the farmers in India would be more vulnerable now,? the SJM convener said.
Narrating his experience, Shri Rao said the SJM team went to ministerial conference with the primary objective of protecting farmers and delinking NAMA from agriculture issues. ?EU and USA have succeeded in creating wedge between different developing countries and also constructing a smokescreen in the form of trade for aid and quota-free-duty free access to Least Developing Countries,? he said.
Alleging that the UPA government had failed to protect national interest at WTO conference, Shri Rao announced to launch a countrywide awareness drive. ?It has been proved in Hong Kong that UPA does not stand for farmers, small-scale industries and service sector. We shall tell it to the countrymen during our awareness campaign,? he added. Shri Rao stressed the need for a threadbare discussion in the parliament and also the state assemblies on the issues pertaining to the state list. ?In no circumstances can we allow the tendency of surrogate motherhood to continue, as adopted by the Indian delegation in the Hong Kong ministerial conference,? he said.