India against coercion in WTO negotiations: Jaitley

By SiliconIndia   |   Wednesday, 21 May 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India has said developing countries should not feel compelled to take decisions against their national interests in the ongoing World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations, Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley said here Tuesday.

"Developing countries should not be coerced or feel compelled to take decisions in areas of vital importance to them unless they are fully convinced that it is in their interest to do so," said Jaitley addressing the concluding session of a two-day international conference on trade, investment and development organized by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in association with the commerce ministry.

During the conference, senior officials and global experts from India and 16 developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America focused on possible implications of closer multilateral cooperation on investment in the context of their developmental policy objectives.

Jaitley stressed that national treatment was a very sensitive issue.

Multilateral rules "should not foreclose for developing countries such development options that the developed countries themselves had utilized at earlier stages of their development," the minister stated.

Emphasising the importance of adequate preparations on various issues that would come up for consideration at the fifth ministerial conference of the WTO to be held at Cancun in Mexico in September, Jaitley said parleys among developing countries has heightened the concern about possible policy choices.

This is particularly important in the case of negotiations on investment "as we need to be clear whether a multilateral framework in this important area is at all necessary before we embark on any discussion about the modalities themselves", said Jaitley.

"We also need to be particularly cautious about moves that may try to suggest that modalities can be limited to procedural matters," the minister said.

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