The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cancun brings China closer

New Delhi, July 29: India and China have jointly criticised the advanced countries for springing last minute surprises at WTO meetings and stated that this practice should not be repeated at Cancun.

According to a commerce ministry statement, the issue was discussed at a meeting in Montreal yesterday between disinvestment minister Arun Shourie and Chinese commerce minister Lu Fuyuan. Shourie is representing India at the talks as commerce minister Arun Jaitley is tied down with the Ayodhya debate in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.

Both Shourie and Lu are reported to have stated that transparency was extremely important in the WTO negotiations. They emphasised that documents should be made available to member countries well in time so that there could be due deliberation and co-ordination of positions before the Cancun round.

The meeting between the two ministers underlined the convergence of views between the two countries in the key areas of agriculture, TRIPS, public health, transparency and the Singapore issues that are being discussed at the WTO talks.

Lu is also reported to have said that there could be little progress at Cancun unless the agriculture issue related to the elimination of export subsidies and reduction of domestic support by the advanced countries was resolved.

Reflecting convergence with India on TRIPS, the Chinese minister said while protection of intellectual property rights of the patent holder in the pharmaceutical sector was important, “medicines should be for the people and not only for making money.”

China concurred with India’s view on the Singapore issues that in keeping with the Doha mandate, there should first be an agreement on the modalities before entering into negotiations.

“We should not be asked to take the first step before knowing where the journey will end,” he observed.

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