G20 summit may bring Doha trade talks back on track

New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) The G20 developed and emerging economies summit next month in Seoul is likely to give a new momentum to the nine-year-old Doha round of multilateral trade talks, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said Thursday.

‘2011 presents a year of opportunity for conclusion of the round. Through the G20 summit in Seoul a strong articulation of political intent would lend the necessary momentum to negotiations,’ Sharma said in a statement after meeting key negotiators at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva Wednesday.

Reaffirming India’s commitment to an ambitious and balanced outcome of the Doha round, he said a successful conclusion of the multilateral trade agreement would provide a big boost to the global economy.

‘Sustaining trade and investment flows is critical for the future prosperity of developed and developing economies alike. One of the main threats to the revival of trade flows is the rising protectionist pressures and continued delay in concluding the Doha round. Therefore, strengthening the multilateral trading system by concluding the Doha round at the earliest is a vital imperative,’ Sharma said.

Sharma met WTO Director General Pascal Lamy, ambassadors of the key players in the Doha round, including the G33, Non-Agriculture Market Access (NAMA) 11 and the recently constituted G11, Chairs of Agriculture, NAMA and Services.

Sharma said some progress has been made in the negotiation since March stock-taking meeting.

He said while there were still a few gaps and large number of unresolved issues, the December 2008 texts of agriculture and non-agriculture market access presented a fine balance and any attempt to revisit settled issues would potentially unravel the round itself.

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