ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Bhagirath Lal DasSubscribe to Bhagirath Lal Das

Some Preliminary Thoughts on New International Economic Cooperation

Now more than ever before there is a strong case for greater cooperation among the developing countries. The gains will be substantial and their losses may be small as they may not have to curtail much of their policy options. Even though the potential for additional benefits in North-South links is now very much limited, inertia and continuing momentum make it difficult for us to come out of this groove. It requires a new mindset to break from the past and tread a new path.

India and Doha

The leader on the WTO negotiations (‘Contravening the Doha Mandate’, April 12) is correct, clear and specific. It is also timely. A major thrust has been launched in the WTO at the initiative of its director-general, the United States and the European Union, probably supported by Brazil.

Doha Round: angers in the Dark Alleys

The Doha round of negotiations of the World Trade Organisation has recently been resumed. Developing countries need to exercise caution during the negotiations in agriculture, non-agricultural market access and services.

Doha Round - II: Steadfast towards Hong Kong

Prospects for the WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong are unpredictable, even bleak. The developing countries have refused to succumb so far. In agriculture, the reduced levels of total trade-distorting subsidies proposed by the US and EU still remain quite high. Though developing countries made a big concession by yielding on line by line tariff cuts in the area of non-agricultural market access, developed countries are pushing for more concessions. In services, many developing countries do not want to give offers as their supply capacity is limited and the major difference is on the proposed �complementary� method of negotiations.

Multitude of Mini-WTOs

Countries around the world are rushing to form bilateral and regional free trade agreements. While bilateral agreements make sense when participating countries are at the same level of development, there are problems when the members are vastly different. There is a danger in this trend of creating innumerable "mini-WTOs" because they are being used by the developed countries to get concessions that they have not been able to extract at the WTO. In some areas it has also become a strategy to soften the developing countries for a future expansion of obligations at the WTO. The smaller countries find that the promise of greater market access is very much an illusion. India should keep these experiences in mind as it searches for new free trade groupings to join.

Bumpy Road to Hong Kong

The recent trends in negotiations on the Doha round of the WTO indicate that the developed countries are likely to be aggressive during the preparations for the Hong Kong ministerial meeting in December. It will be a test of India's role in the negotiations of how far it can strike a right balance between "give" and "take" in the important areas of industrial tariffs, agriculture, services and rules to safeguard its interests.

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