WTO Chief Expresses Concern Over Slow Progress for Next Meet

WTO Chief Expresses Concern Over Slow Progress for Next Meet

Expressing concern over slow progress in talks to finalise agenda for Nairobi ministerial meeting in December, WTO chief Roberto Azevedo has told trade ministers from India and other countries that "political calls" will be required to reach a consensus.

Trade ministers of key WTO member countries, including India and the US, met in Paris on the sidelines of OECD meeting to discuss the pending issues of the Doha Round and finalise the agenda for the WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said that the members need to move quickly to find convergence on the agenda "if we are to deliver results that are both meaningful and achievable".

India too had earlier expressed concerns over slow progress in finalising the agenda.

Azevedo said: "I am becoming increasingly concerned that we are not making the progress we need to deliver a substantive work programme in July. This is particularly the case in the key areas of agriculture, industrial products and services."

"I told ministers that we were rapidly approaching the point where political calls will be required," he added.

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was in Paris to attend the meeting.

The WTO members would have to finalise the agenda for the Ministerial Conference -- the highest decision making body of the World Trade Organisation -- scheduled from December 15-18 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Doha Round of negotiations launched in 2001 have remained stalled since July 2008 due to differences between the rich and the developing nations mainly over the subsidies given to farmers.

As per estimates, successful conclusion of the Doha Round could boost global trade by up to USD 200 billion a year.

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