WTO DG contenders meet Anand Sharma to seek India's support

New Delhi, Jan.24 (ANI): Union Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma met a series of global industrial leaders and his counterparts from various countries at World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland yesterday.

Four contenders for the post of Director General, World Trade Organization, namely, Mrs. Anabel Gonzalez, Minister of Foreign Trade, Costa Rica; Dr. Hermino Blanco Mendoza, Minister of Economy, Mexico; Mr. Tim Groser, Minister of Trade, New Zealand and Dr. Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia also met Sharma and sought India's support for their candidature.

Sharma welcomed their candidature and expressed India's stand regarding the need for a DG who is from the developing countries and is committed to the development dimension of WTO negotiations.

The leaders also discussed bilateral issues. Apart from these leaders, Sharma also met Mr. Rob Davies, Minister for Trade, South Africa and Mrs. Ait Zhanova Zhanar, Minister for Economic Integration, Kazakhastan and Chief Negotiator on WTO accession for Kazakhstan for bilateral meetings. The Kazakhstan Minister briefed Shri Sharma regarding her country's accession to WTO.

Sharma met Tesco Chairman Sir Richard Braodbent who sought certain clarifications on conditionalities in the new FDI policy for the retail sector. Shri Sharma assured that all the foreign investors will be provided hand holding and asked him to voice their concerns in writing and offered all help if Tesco decides to send a team to Department for Industrial Policy and Promotion for consultation.

In a meeting with Paul S Walsh, Chief Executive of Diageo, Sharma was briefed about the company's plans in India.

Mr. Walsh termed India as 'fantastic market' and said that their experience with India has been 'great'. He also informed Sharma that Diageo is exploring the opportunities of marketing Indian Spirits overseas.

Mr. Peter Sands, Group CEO, Standard Chartered, discussed the upcoming meeting of India-UK Business Forum co-chaired by Ratan Tata in the first quarter of this year. He also discussed the forthcoming visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron to India.

In a meeting with Ms. Petra Laux, Head of Global Public and Government Affairs, Novartis. Sharma was informed about the company's appreciation for movement towards Market Based Pricing regime in India.

Ms. Laux also expressed Novartis' interest in enhancing investment in India.

Sharma also met Mr. Richard Olver, Chairman, BAE Systems who pressed for greater liberalisation in defence sector. Mr. Olver also expressed the company's interest in forging new ties with defence sector PSUs of India. Mr. Frans A. van Houten, President and CEO, Royal Philips Electronics, in a meeting with Sharma expressed his interest in manufacturing facilities in India along with the concerns for local sourcing requirement for LED.

In a meeting with Mr. John Nelson CEO, Lloyd's, Sharma was conveyed the hope that the Insurance Bill pending in Parliament will be legislated soon. They were hoping that it was done before the visit of the UK PM but the Parliamentary calendar made it difficult. (ANI)

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