De-briefing of the Hong Kong Ministerial
New Delhi, India, December 21, 2005
The second meeting of PARFORE was held in New Delhi in the wake of the 6th WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference. A general opinion of the participants was that Hong Kong WTO Ministerial was a success, as a second failure after the Cancun fiasco would have been disastrous for the multilateral trading system, and affected the developing world adversely.
?India through its liberalisation is moving forward. Our average tariffs came down to 20 percent. However, it is feared that this autonomous liberalisation will weaken our negotiating position in the WTO?, observed Yashwant Sinha.
Speaking at the Forum, Dr P C Alexander expressed fears that DFQF to LDCs was another cause for concern.
?The success of Hong Kong Ministerial provides an opportunity to make the final jump towards the successful conclusion of the Doha Round?, said Sharad Joshi. ?Our civil servants are better prepared, but we need to do our homework very carefully, particularly in tariff negotiations. They have to be very vigilant because modalities are to be negotiated in the coming months. The devil is in the details?, observed Joshi.
Many members felt that the Forum should also discuss international environment agreements, of which there is scarce understanding among Parliamentarians and policy makers. Former Environment Minister, Prof. Saifuddin Soz seconded the proposal. ?In future, Kyoto Protocol will become another Uruguay Round, and we will be caught unaware?, said Suresh Prabhu.
M V Rajasekharan, expressed concern on the plight of tea and coffee sectors being hit by global competition. Other members who participated in the meeting included Suresh Prabhu, Manoj Bhattacharya, Sharad Anantrao Joshi, Prof. Saifuddin Soz and E M Sudarshana Natchiappan.