France urges India to buy mid-size planes

Monday, 25 November 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: French Trade and Commerce Minister Francois Loos has approached India with an offer to purchase more Airbus and mid-size planes.

In a meeting with Disinvestment and Commerce Minister Arun Shourie here Saturday, the French minister pressed India to consider purchasing more planes from France.

"We have encouraged India to buy more Airbus and mid-size ATR 42 planes," said Loos at a press conference on the sidelines of the Group of 20 nations meeting that concluded here Saturday.

During the day, Loos met Shourie to discuss the outcome of the informal ministerial World Trade Organisation meeting at Sydney earlier this month.

The French minister said they were also keen to find a legal solution to the industrial property rights that bars free movement of pharmaceutical products.

"We support India's position and hope for an early solution by year end. We want it done early as it is a human cause," said Loos, adding that France is pushing the European Union in that direction.

While the Doha Declaration signed last year had agreed to allow free movement of medicines to countries in crisis, there is a bid by developed nations to reopen the issue.

On India's stand on agriculture negotiations, Loos said France was in total agreement on the need for protection under Geographic Indication, which establishes the product to be unique to a region, to safeguard the interest of countries.

"India and France are together on this front," he emphasised.

Stating that polluting countries should take on more responsibility to reduce carbon emission, which is leading to global warming, Loos said, "The solution lies not with poor countries but industrial nations".

He urged that polluting industries worldwide should be asked to take on commitment to reduce emissions and for this a global effort is required.

On attempts to bring culture into trade negotiations, Loos said a special organisation needs to be set up as "cultural diversity does not mix with money. At the end of the day, one does not want to negotiate over culture like trade".

On the issue of high agriculture subsidies, the French minister said the European Union is providing far less subsidy compared to the U.S.

With 10 more eastern countries set to join the union, it has been decided that the level of subsidy would be kept at present level till 2013 to allow those countries to come at par.

According to Loos, despite charges of erecting trade barriers, the E.U. has this year imported $28 billion worth of agriculture produce from the developing countries, which is far in excess of the U.S. imports of $8 billion.
Source: IANS
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