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Anand Sharma says WTO deal was needed for developing nations

"A new agreement was needed to replace the old and imbalanced one," the commerce minister, who headed the Indian delegation at the WTO conference, told the Rajya Sabha.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma. PHOTO: Reuters Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma. PHOTO: Reuters
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said the recent agreement signed at the World Trade Organization's (WTO) meeting in Indonesia was needed to strike a balance in favour of developing nations.

Giving clarifications on a statement given in the Rajya Sabha, he said after the Uruguay round of WTO meet, the agreement was tilted towards developed countries.

"A new agreement was needed to replace the old and imbalanced one," Sharma, who headed the Indian delegation at the WTO conference, told the Rajya Sabha.

He also said the agreement is not temporary but transitional.

The minister was giving clarifications on a statement given in the Upper House about the recently concluded round of negotiations in Bali, Indonesia.

In his earlier statement, Sharma said India has given a clear signal to the world that "while India is prepared to engage, it will not accept an un-balanced agreement... It will under no circumstances compromise the fundamental issues pertaining to food security, livelihood security and the welfare of its subsistence farmers and the poor."

Sharma said the agreement re-affirmed India's leadership role amongst the developing countries, as it demonstrated diplomatic ability to build consensus.

The new agreement would allow developing countries farm subsidies for food security of their people, improve terms of trade for the least developed countries and cut customs rules around the world.