Central government is busy congratulating itself for being instrumental in the
failure of the WTO trade talks in the Mexican resort of Cancum. India, Brazil
and China along with Malaysia and others resisted pressure from the developed
countries to agree to trade terms disadvantageous to the developing countries.
India, Brazil and China in the lead, 80 developing countries joined together to
resist formidable pressure to accept unfavourable terms of trade and unlimited
rights of advanced
countries to invest in the developing countries where cheap labour and
higher rate of growth attract investment from developed countries.
the Uruguay round of talks ten years ago (which led to the establishment of WTO)
developing countries have been demanding that the US and European Union curtail
their agricultural subsidies which makes it easier for Western farmers to
produce and sell in the international market at a lower price than agricultural
products from developing countries. This has a devastating impact on developing
EU and US over the last 10 years increased farm subsidies instead of cutting
down. The EU-US subsidies have gone up to $300 billion from $180 billion. This
is certainly not the way to reduce and eliminate subsidies.
the main cause of failure of the talks was not farm subsidies but what are
referred to as a “Singapore issues”. These issues are thus called because in
ministerial talks at Singapore in 1996 proposals were made to incorporate rules
regarding foreign investment, competition, government purchases and procedures
like custom clearance into WTO.
countries did not want to discuss these issues while the developed countries
insisted on it. Celebrating the failure to come up with an agreement at Cancum
may not be the right approach to WTO. In any case, the advanced countries would
try to have similar agreements with developing countries individually.
must be kept in mind that we can to some extent “celebrate” our success in
resisting pressure from the developed world, but a long impasse in trade talks
would not help anyone.g
MOhd. Zeyaul HAque