G-10 ministers discuss agenda for WTO ministerial meeting

Ministers from various countries, including the US and Germany from G-10 grouping, along with WTO chief Pascal Lamy on Saturday discussed the agenda for the global trade talks scheduled later this year.

The meeting on trade talks took place on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meet here.

"The purpose of the meeting was to explore ways to deliver substantial results at the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference which will take place in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2013," the Swiss government said in an official statement.

Swiss Federal Councillor Johann N Schneider-Ammann had invited the ministers, in charge of WTO affairs, present here for the meeting.

Earlier in the day, G-10 ministers discussed the progress made at WTO negotiations, especially issues related to the agriculture market. Persisting differences between developed and developing nations have been a major hurdle in concluding the global trade talks, which began way back in 2001.

Debate over access to agriculture market in the developing world, including India, remains unresolved.

According to the Swiss spokesperson, G-10 members emphasised they have always been engaged constructively, besides being proactive in trying to achieve a reasonable balance between liberalising agricultural markets and the need to accommodate members' specific domestic concerns.

"Ministers emphasised, however, that possible deliverables based on progress achieved in the Doha Round cannot be identified predominantly in the area of agriculture; a balance with other issues is necessary," the spokesperson said.

India and other developing nations are defending their agricultural markets to protect millions of subsistence farmers from easy imports that may result from multi-lateral agreement.

According to the spokesperson, the G-10 ministers acknowledged that in line with certain parts of the Doha Ministerial Declaration possible areas where progress can be achieved should be identified with a view to implement them at early.

Besides the US, other G-10 group has Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK as members.

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