Posted online: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 at 0000 hours IST
NEW DELHI, MAR 12 : WTO director-general Pascal Lamy on Monday criticised the slow progress of the Doha Round of talks and called for speeding up the process to achieve a breakthrough by June. India can help in breaking the ice, Lamy said.
Lamy, who was here to participate in a seminar on the Doha Round said, “Time is not on our side and many members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are becoming impatient. The multilateral process of negotiations must therefore begin at full speed and chairpersons of various negotiation groups must come in centrestage.”
“We need to speed up the process to grasp the opportunity, which closes in June, with the expiry of the US Trade Promotion Authority,” Lamy added.
Lamy, however, said, at present, political leaders were focussing to get a breakthrough since they realised the cost of failure would be “absolutely huge”. Meanwhile, around 200 protestors from farmers’ groups, including Bharat Krishak Samaj (BKS), Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and NGOs Housing Rights Association, Peoples Campaign for Justice and Sovereignty, Youth for Justice and Slum Dwellers Association, gathered outside the venue and demanded to be heard. “We do not want a bad deal at any cost,” they said. Vandana Shiva of Navdanya questioned why no farmers’ leader was invited at the seminar.
“I was informed that some progress has been made in testing hypothesis, approaches and formulae last week in bilateral contacts between the US, EU, Brazil and India” Lamy said during his speech. On agriculture, Lamy said WTO members have agreed that this Round has to deliver effective cuts in trade-distorting farm subsidies in developed countries