Trade Policy

  • Meltdown’s brighter side
    The Economic Times, December 12, 2008
    The global financial meltdown has caused many to reach for the panic button. The seemingly invincible India Inc is playing a wait-and-watch game with all plans for expansion and new hires put on hold for the time being. The time is ripe for decisive government intervention: though the potential of the Indian economy remains undiminished, government intervention is needed to lift the unnecessarily sagging spirits. It has to both talk and walk the talk so as to create the required comfort zone.
  • Art & science of policymaking
    The Economic Times, November 25, 2008
    Policy making is not for the fainthearted. Any policy, whether it relates to trade, infrastructure or anything else, always draws criticism that far exceeds appreciation. Theorists have now begun to view this generalisation as a psychological law. Images of Singur also substantiate this point. But this is not an isolated case, as we will continue to see more such episodes.
  • No time to panic
    The Economic Times, November 24, 2008
    The Indian economy is certainly capable of breezing through the global financial meltdown at only a slightly reduced rate of economic growth of 6-7 percent per annum. But for that to be possible big business will have to continue spending, earning and employing without inhibitions. However, the efforts of big business alone might not be sufficient for ensuring that India coasts through the global meltdown. There is a need for support from all the other economic actors: government, consumers, investors and depositors.
  • Multilateral talks never fail
    The Economic Times, August 09, 2008
    After the Hong Kong WTO ministerial meeting on the Doha development round, some of the left leaders said that Indian trade minister Kamal Nath does not deserve any kudos. Now one of them says that he did well at the mini-ministerial at Geneva. The massive effort to try and get a deal for the benefit of all did not succeed. Once again farm goods proved to be the stumbling block. Commerce minister Kamal Nath has held his ground on the livelihood concerns of our 650 million farmers.
  • Allow farmers to make hay while the sun shines
    The Financial Express, July 07, 2008
    International trade gives the producers opportunities to gain when global price is higher than the price under autarky, that is, absence of international trade. This is surely the case of cotton where locally used varieties are priced lower than those internationally traded.
  • Let’s up the ante on agriculture
    The Economic Times, July 05, 2008
    Marie Antoinette, the 18th century queen of France, famously asked the famished French citizens to eat cake if they cannot find any bread. The reaction of developed country members of the WTO and their businesses to legitimate and agreed, ‘less than full reciprocity’ (LTFR) condition in negotiating a balanced deal on non-agricultural market access (NAMA) appears no different.
  • The relevance of Prebisch to today’s Unctad
    Business Line, June 27, 2008
    Raúl Prebisch, UNCTAD’s founding Secretary-General, the prominent Argentinean economist and thinker with a strong influence on world economic debates served UNCTAD from 1964-1966 and advocated preferential access to the markets of rich countries and regional integration. During the UNCTAD XI, 2004, held at Sao Paulo, Rubens Ricupero, the then Secretary-General, while delivering the 12th Raúl Prebisch Lecture reminded the audience about Prebisch’s legacy of ethical commitment to genuine development. However, UNCTAD XII, held in Accra during April 20-25, 2008 made an exception, with no Raúl Prebisch Lecture being delivered.
  • Trade against terror and tragedy
    The Financial Express, March 30, 2008
    Despite resumption of rail-road links, the journey between India and Pakistan is critically dependent upon the security and safety of travellers. The governments of the two countries must address the challenges of security to sustain the renewed interest of the people in visiting each other more frequently.
  • SEZs and rational expectations
    The Financial Express, September 11, 2007
    The debate on the losses or gains in revenue due to the special economic zone (SEZ) policy is tantamount to missing the wood for the trees. The fact remains that nobody has ever questioned the merits of SEZs or its economic potential. And there is a broad political consensus in the country that the SEZ policy is here to stay for good.
  • There is no ambiguity in Indian legislation
    The Financial Express, August 20, 2007
    Novartis had challenged Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act, which deals with such situations, and argued that the provision is arbitrary and inconsistent with the World Trade Organisation’s trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPs) agreement.
  • Does failure of WTO talks matter?
    The Economic Times, July 05, 2007
    Since developing countries like India, China and Brazil do not stand to gain anything significant from the Doha Development Round, it doesn’t matter whether the WTO talks are concluded now or later.
  • Duty and Quota Free Market Access to LDCs — India, China must act now
    The Hindu Business Line, June 13, 2007
    Since the 2003 WTO Cancun Ministerial Conference, LDCs have stood up to the pressure from developed countries and lent crucial support to G-20 and G-33 in their aggressive effort to dismantle the huge farm subsidies of the West. Now, it is time for larger developing countries to repay the LDCs by granting them DFQF market which is economically and politically very significant.
  • Speak to the people
    The Economic Times, April 14, 2007
    The uproar on SEZs and the like is inter alia, most likely the result of a massive communication failure. Both the government and the investors do not have any strategy to address the information asymmetries, which only compound the problem and thus affect progress.
  • Too important to leave aside
    The Financial Express, March 31, 2007
    The country needs to regain the momentum of political will on SEZs.
  • Government, NGOs and the WTO — Some myths and realities
    The Hindu Business Line, March 12, 2007
    Though NGO interests in WTO matters have grown over the years, there are yet certain myths with regard to their positions, etc.
  • WTO and the myths about NGOs
    The Economic Times, March 12, 2007
    One of the striking features of the WTO in its first decade of existence is its remarkable ability to attract attention from NGOs. According to WTO’s definition, any entity other than a government is a non-governmental organisation.
  • Broad benefits of special economic zones
    The Financial Express, December 14, 2006
    The present policy of the Commerce Ministry of India is to spread the formation of special economic zones (SEZs) to all parts of India, which is likely to foster relatively balanced growth and development.
  • Technical assistance on trade and regulatory policies
    The Green Cross Optimist, Autumn 2006 Issue
    Most developing countries have embraced more open and outward-oriented trade policy regimes over the last couple of decades, either unilaterally or due to international commitments, and they continue to engage in further trade negotiations, both at the WTO and at bilateral and regional levels.
  • We need a separate trade department
    Business Standard, December 07, 2006
    More specialised and experienced people are needed to deal with international trade policy matters, perhaps civil servants appointed for the job on a permanent basis.
  • The three WTOs
    The Hindu Business Line, December 07, 2006
    People familiar with a system use abbreviations generously, assuming that everyone knows what is being spoken about. And it is efficiency which guides using abbreviations or acronyms whenever communicating.
  • Of virus, seeds, patents, competition
    The Hindu Business Line, November 17, 2006
    India is facing a series of public health disorders due to dengue, chikungunya and other diseases for which the doctors have only one answer: Virus. What virus and why, is a question that begs answers.
  • How to salvage the Doha Round or not?
    The Financial Express, Bangladesh, July 09, 2006
    The recent mini-ministerial of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at Geneva expectedly flopped, because the divergences remained unresolved.
  • SAFTA: An instrument for peace and prosperity
    The Hindu Business Line, July 05, 2006
    Many current studies point out that regional trade agreements that expand trade flows appear to have a dampening impact on conflict. Can SAFTA, whose implementation began on July 1, do this for India and Pakistan whose bilateral trade has been hostage to political compulsions for too long?
  • No agreement minus agriculture
    Business Standard, June 05, 2006
    Why did India and Brazil not join the recent mini-ministerial of the WTO at Paris to move the stalled Doha agenda? For two reasons: first, they were frustrated with no progress, and second, their own realisation that the Geneva process was being suborned.
  • India’s gains, losses at Hong Kong Ministerial
    The Financial Express, January 16, 2006
    While doing a post-mortem of the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial, what must be kept in mind is that the expectations were low and so the outcomes are really modest. Looking at India’s interests, our negotiating team did fairly well in the trade negotiations.
  • Hong Kong Ministerial – Another show of South solidarity
    The Hindu Business Line, December 29, 2005
    The result of the Hong Kong Ministerial is not as important as the message it sends for the developing countries. After having flexed their muscles in the multilateral trade arena, they need to develop an alternative to the markets of the North. This is possible only through greater South-South cooperation on trade and economic issues.
  • Southern sentiment
    The News, Pakistan, December 25, 2005
    The global South is finally coming together in international trade, though a lot of impediments – from within and from outside – remain to be overcome.
  • Laddoos and jalebis for Kamal Nath
    The Economic Times, December 22, 2005
    Developing countries have extracted the maximum they could at Hong Kong, and India played a key role in the coalition-building and negotiations that accomplished this.
  • Agriculture negotiations hold the key to success
    The Financial Express, December 14, 2005
    Commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath appears well in command of the key issues and challenges of the Doha Round. His continuous refrain on protecting the 600 million farmers of India from any adverse deal, is perhaps more to do with the sentiment than logic.
  • WTO’s real task at HK Round
    The Business Times, Singapore, December 09, 2005
    In the run-up to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong next week, hectic parleys have continued among key ministers to try and get a deal on the Hong Kong declaration, which will be better than what has been put out on November 26, 2005.
  • Neglecting the costs of failure
    The Economic Times, December 08, 2005
    Justice was not done to the developing countries in the Uruguay Round. Hence, it would be unfair for the developed countries to ask for greater market access from their poor counterparts at Hong Kong.
  • WTO draft ministerial text – One step forward, two steps back
    The Hindu Business Line, December 07, 2005
    The release of the WTO draft text document does not mean that the deadlock over agriculture and other issues has been resolved. Members are still at loggerheads over several issues pertaining to market access, and special and differential treatments to developing countries.

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