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

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Unfinished Struggle of Contract Labourers

should one seek? Just as in the matter of commodity trade, one should strive for the reinsertion of Article 18(B) of the present GATT, one should similarly demand the retention of the old Article 18(C) on government assistance. Alternatively, one could demand that the principles behind restrictions on industrial R and D by developing countries should be the same as those governing 'general subsidies' to industries in the backward regions' of a country, The DD defines the 'backward region' as one with a per capita income of up to 85 per cent of the national average; there are alternative indicators which need not concern us here (Article 8.2(b), Section I). If the US can offer special incentives (without any percentage limit) to industries in her backward states, each of which should have a per capita income several times higher than any developing country, why should the latter be hamstrung by the DD percentages on industrial R and D? From the viewpoint of 'fair trade', there is little to distinguish between the two types of subsidy. The assumption behind general subsidies is that these are necessary for new firms to produce at competitive prices vis-a-vis those in advanced regions in the same country or abroad; in effect, the subsidy may cause 'injury' to other countries through a loss of potential earnings and employment, but it is not actionable under the DD. Industrial R and D by a developing country might do no more. Thus the DD appears to adopt a dual standard, allowing the escape route of 'backward regions* to all types of industries in any country, rich or poor, but plugging the loophole in respect of industrial R and D that might be the more suitable avenue of expanding incomes and employment in many developing countries. One can de- mand that the ceiling on industrial R and D should not be applicable to any country with a per capita income below 85 per cent of that of the (top five or 10) richest countries in the world. If the rich nations refuse to concede the point, it will constitute another demonstration of their hegemonic ambition. No self-respecting government of a poor country like India would still want to endorse the DD in its present form.

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