People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 36

September 14 , 2008



Issue A 'White Paper' On WTO Negotiations

Sitaram Yechury, MP and Polit Bureau member of CPI(M) has sent the following letter to Dr Manmohan Singh, prime minister of India on August 29, 2008 demanding details of the issues which have been resolved and other issues yet to be resolved in the recent WTO mini-ministerial conference.

THE impression which has been voiced by the government is that the last WTO mini-ministerial conference could not resolve issues and collapsed. However, we find from the interview which Pascal Lamy has given to the Economic Times that out of about 20 issues on the agenda at the ministerial conference, which included not just agriculture and NAMA, but also services and intellectual properties, 17 items were successfully dealt with. Only on three issues, there was no agreement and they related to the special safeguard mechanism (SSM) on agriculture imports, cotton subsidies by USA and intellectual property. We are totally in the dark about the details on 17 items which have been successfully dealt with. It seems the most contentious issues of our national interest relating to steep farm subsidies by USA, regulating the green box subsidies and custom duties on imports have been resolved.

The statement issued by the commerce secretary at the WTO seminar organized by FICCI indicates that our government is also ready to resolve the remaining issues provided Lamy is able to persuade USA to discuss the special safeguard mechanism.

Given the above status of Doha Round Issues, we strongly feel that it would be appropriate if the government issue a ‘white paper’ giving the details of the issues which have been resolved and other issues yet to be resolved. The people of our country have the right to know the status.

Hope you would give serious consideration to our request and do the needful.