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India: pumping new life into the Doha Round September 17, 2009

Posted by southasiamasala in : Guest authors, India , comments closed

Guest author, Rajiv Kumar, Director, ICRIER

This article first appeared in East Asia Forum and the Financial Chronicle

Despite exhortations from successive G-20 summits, the Doha Development Round (DDR) has been in a state of suspended animation since July 2008. It is fortunate that protectionist measures taken by several governments since November 2008, have not resulted in a rash of competitive protectionism. But we are at the top of a very slippery path. It will not take much for governments to succumb to domestic protectionist pressures if unemployment continues to rise or the recovery falters. Therefore, it is quite important that the multilateral trading regime be strengthened and the credibility of the WTO which serves as its global watchman is enhanced. There can be no better means of achieving this than to ensure a successful conclusion of the DDR.

Indian PM Singh with the delegation of WTO representatives, in New Delhi on September 04, 2009 (Photo: www.pmindia.nic.in)

In this context, it is sad to realize that a successful outcome of the DDR is seen as an increasingly remote possibility. There is talk of ‘multilaterlizing regionalism’ which in all honesty is some what of an oxymoron. And some observers, on grounds of realism have suggested that we accept a failed DDR as a fait accompli and start to look for second best options. India and other emerging economies should not accept such a pessimistic prognosis. Instead they need to ensure that the DDR, is successfully concluded even if with a lower ambition level.

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Doha Round: what India’s new government needs to do August 19, 2009

Posted by southasiamasala in : India, Kalirajan, Kaliappa , comments closed

Kaliappa Kalirajan

Though India has demonstrated that there exists broad political support for its economic reform program, agricultural trade policy reforms need to be accelerated. The new government enjoys a better standing than before in terms of stability.  Its challenge now is to mitigate the inefficiency that exists in Indian agriculture and close the gap between its potential and actual performances by implementing a proper policy framework.

As a net exporter in agriculture products, India has more to gain than to lose from trade reforms. It has sufficiently high bound rates on most of the products and therefore flexibility can be ensured against unfair competition. It does not have to worry about its agricultural subsidies as they are already below the required ceiling. And it also does not have any serious domestic opposition to reckon with. All of these factors place India in an advantageous position. (more…)