Indonesia regrets India`s absence at WTO parliament conference

Indonesia regrets India`s absence at WTO parliament conference

Nurhayati Ali Assegaf. (ANTARA)

It is regrettable that India was not present."
Kuta, Bali (ANTARA News) - Indonesia has expressed regret over Indias absence at the World Trade Organization (WTO) parliament conference to formulate a Bali Outcome, which serves as a recommendation to the ongoing WTO ministerial conference at Nusa Dua, Bali.

"It is regrettable that India was not present. As a matter of fact, its presence will help bridge its interests with the United States and European Union through the Bali Outcome," said member of the Indonesian delegation to the WTO parliament conference Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, who is also a member of the steering committee, on Thursday.

She also regretted Indias rigid stand in rejecting negotiations on the volume and subsidy of food reserves at the WTO ministerial conference at Nusa Dua.

"After all, we are awaiting Indias flexible stand," said Nurhayati, who is also chief of the Democratic Party faction at the House of Representatives (DPR) on the sidelines of the WTO parliament conference.

Chairman of the DPRs Inter-Parliament Cooperation Board, Surahman Hidayat, said participants of the WTO parliament conference could learn from Indias absence at the forum.

"At least without India, the WTO parliament conference remains solid. Let India face WTO member states, including poor countries, developing countries and developed countries," he said.

He noted that the conference delegates could exchange ideas at panel and discussion levels. "All participants support the idea of multilateral trade as a means to improve welfare and reduce poverty in developing nations," he said.

The conference participants are prepared for the future global economy, after the WTO ministerial conference members agreed to the Bali Package, he said.

"The WTO secretary general has informed us that the Bali Package could not be 100 percent endorsed. But that does not mean that this is zero percent," he said.

Meanwhile, Jorg Leichtfried, who represented the European Parliament at the conference, said Indias stand will harm its efforts to realize food security program, assist small farmers and feed its poor citizens.

"India cannot negotiate its food. If they want negotiations, they must meet us. If we meet, there must be compromise. Unfortunately, no Indian representatives were present," he said.

(Reporting by M. Irfan Ilmie/Uu.INE/KR-BSR/H-YH)