Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Nov 26, 2003
Industry & Economy
50-member core group mooted for Doha talks
New Delhi , Nov. 25
DELEGATES at the three-day `India Economic Summit' (IEC) organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which concluded here on Tuesday, have suggested that a core group of 50 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) be constituted to take decisions and resolve the deadlock over the Doha round.
Briefing newspersons after the conclusion of the summit, co-hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Bajaj Auto Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Rahul Bajaj, said that a system of 20+20+10 could be considered in which a group comprising top 20 trading nations, 20 most populous states and 10 nominated countries could be set up to take decisions on behalf of the WTO fraternity.
"The decisions taken by this group would be binding on the 40 countries while the rest of the 108 members of the WTO would have the option of not recognising the agreements. But we feel that all members would see the benefits of free trade and join the system," Mr Bajaj said.
Stating that it was better not to arrive at any agreement instead of getting a "bad agreement", Mr Bajaj said that multilateral negotiations should result in a fair and balanced trading regime that keeps in mind the legitimate interests of developing countries.
He also said that no new issues should be added to the Doha agenda and the process should move forward from Cancun as soon as possible.
The Infosys Chairman, Mr N.R. Narayana Murthy, said that Indian and Chinese IT companies should come together to harness their software and hardware skills.
"Two to three Chinese hardware companies and an equal number of Indian software companies should form a consortium and bid for a large system integration project in the developed world. If it comes through, it would be a fabulous opportunity for Indian and Chinese companies to work together and leverage their software and hardware skills respectively," Mr Murthy said.
No such project has, however, been identified as yet, Mr Murthy said.
Among a bunch of recommendations forwarded to the Government after the meeting was also a suggestion that Indian companies should look beyond Beijing and Shanghai for trade and investment. Both countries need to identify areas of collaboration and create opportunities for greater people-to-people contact.
Several provinces in China are looking at investing in India.
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