India to Host Doha Round in September

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Jul. 30 – India’s capital, New Delhi, is set to host the Doha Development Round from September 3 to 4 that will gather ministers from the G20 countries.

Since 2001, the trade-negotiation round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has aimed to increase and liberalize global trade and more importantly allow developing countries to export more by negotiating  to lower trade barriers.

Regular global meetings have so far been hampered by unresolved issues between developing and rich countries when it came to the topic of agricultural and industrial products. India has been fiercely guarding issues that could affect the food and livelihood of its marginalized farmers but is hopeful that the September meeting will lead to a final deal since it was already close to formalizing one last year.

Trade Minister Anand Sharma was quoted by Reuters as saying: “A fair and satisfactory outcome to the trade negotiations can actually be a catalyst for the combined international effort to break free of the economic crisis.”

He added: “India stands committed to bringing Doha to a successful and early conclusion and is keen to resume negotiations.”

No country has been spared by the financial crisis although trade in Asia has been showing signs of recovery. World Trade Organization (WTO) chief Pascal Lamy told Reuters: “The export scenario is one of serious concern. The base year effect will start wearing off after September, but we cannot predict whether there will be a recovery after that or not.”

India’s own exports have been plunging in the past months. Even a series of tax relief measures for exporters have not been sufficient to ease business operations. In May, exports dropped by 29.2 percent to US$11.0 billion, compared to the previous year.