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

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Multilateral Trade and Dairy Commodity Markets in LDCs

Domestic dairy industry and commodity market of less developed countries (LDCs) is vulnerable to international competition because of the prevalence of heavy subsidies on production and exports of dairy commodities from developed countries. With lower levels of market protection and faster economic liberalisation, the recent Indian experience suggests that liberal import policies can gloom the competitiveness and hence growth prospects of domestic dairy industry. The option is either to push hard for a level playing field using suitable WTO forum or to enhance the domestic industry competitiveness through suitable interventions. The former seems to be more relevant given the WTO anti-dumping and complaint redressal provisions by a cohesive regional approach.

WTO's Emerging Investment Regime

This paper discusses, from a developing country perspective, issues concerning the ongoing review of the Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures and the move of the industrialised countries to bring the investment issue on the WTO agenda. Bringing an agreement on investment, beyond TRIMs, on the WTO agenda will not be in the interests of the developing countries. A strategy is, therefore, suggested for India and other developing countries to adopt on this issue at the Ministerial Meeting at Doha in November.

Subsidies and Support in Agriculture

The WTO agricultural package on domestic support and export subsidies provides for complex classification of support and subsidies for agriculture, some of which are totally exempt from reduction commitments. This classification favours developed countries, which are able to maintain a high level of support for agriculture. Developing countries should press for combining all forms of support for agriculture and seek reduction in total support in order to attain a level playing field.

TRIPS Review: Basic Rights Must Be Restored

There is broad consensus that TRIPS in its present form is unacceptable because it violates the fundamental rights of people. Civil society organisations across the world are mobilising opinion to intervene in the TRIPS review process. What are the changes must be negotiated during the current review of TRIPS?

WTO Pacts and Food Quality Issues

Trade liberalisation, hoped to be achieved through the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, is expected to lead to export promotion and import substitution for the Indian food sector. However, these opportunities cannot be exploited unless attention is paid to two important WTO agreements - one, on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and two, on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). To maximise the benefit from these agreements, India will have to improve its safety and quality norms and import monitoring mechanisms.

End of Quantitative Import Restrictions

The paranoia in some quarters over the ending of quantitative import restrictions will be proved unfounded and will die down. There will be some difficulties initially, particularly because domestic producers have been protected for so long. In the longer run competition from producers elsewhere will be beneficial for the domestic economy. This will, however, require policy-makers and other economic agents to give up their defensive attitudes and approach positively the tasks of becoming globally competitive.

Valuation of Undervalued and Dumped Imports

The ticklish issue of domestic rulings vis-a-vis GATT/WTO jurisprudence in the context of a recent ruling by the Supreme Court touching on what constitutes 'ordinary course of trade'.

India and the WTO

An alliance of diverse sectarian interests is claiming that India’s acceptance of the results of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations is threatening the sovereignty of the nation and the supremacy of its parliament. The fallacy of this wild propaganda needs to be exposed and the people educated on the benefits of a liberal and competitive trade regime.


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