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Swadeshi Manch demands white paper on WTO

The Karnataka unit of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch has demanded an independent commission on the decade-long functioning of the World Trade Organisation, through an independent commission or a committee.

“The Hong Kong ministerial conference should have been an opportunity for initiating a white paper,” Manch State Convener Prof. B.M.Kumaraswamy said in Mysore.

Warning on the stand adopted by developed countries on agriculture and elimination of subsidies, he said all countries, including the developed ones, should stop all kinds of agricultural subsidies or else keep agriculture out of WTO purview.

Calling for effective changes in the decision making process, he said it should be more transparent. Draft ministerial text should represent the voice of all the members and not just a reflection of WTO secretariat views. Discussion should be more participative without any kind of brinkmanship or influence.

There is need for setting up a WTO Ombudsman for redressal of various technology problems of the developing countries, which are lacking technology capacity to understand and raise their voice effectively.

No new agenda without implementing the existing agenda should be taken up. Developing countries should firmly seek full implementation of the issues before negotiating a mandate on any other issue, the Professor said.

WTO is not functioning in a democratic way and there is no transparency. The draft resolution prepared by its secretariat, on which the developed countries have a hold and are adopting green room diplomacy, is being imposed on the developing and under-developed countries. All these underscore the need for a white paper.

The Government of India’s stand on these issues is very crucial for the country. The WTO has become a powerful block of influential developed countries, while developing and under-developing countries are suffering the maximum. Therefore, if there is pressure on developing countries to eliminate agricultural subsidies, India should come out of the WTO, the Professor said.

Opposing entry of foreign investments in retail trade, the State Convener said four crore people would become jobless in the country if powerful companies like Wal-Mart are allowed to set up shops. The small scale industrial sector was already suffering because of globalization.

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