South Asian NGOs meet in Colombo to develop bargaining document for WTO talks

South Asian NGOs want governments to include their concerns when negotiating trade matters under the World Trade Organisation (WTO). South Asian NGOs want governments to include their concerns when negotiating trade matters under the World Trade Organisation (WTO). “Even in South Asia the different countries have different requirements. This is where civil society groups can get a foot in the door,” says Prasad Ranade from India’s CUTS centre for International Trade, Economics and Environment, on Wednesday.

India’s CUTS, Sri Lanka’s Institute of Policy Studies and Nepal’s South Asia Watch on Trade Economics and Environment and Pakistani NGOs are now in Colombo trying to work out how to “get a foot in” on WTO negotiations.

The plan is to find areas of common interest and common concerns and present these to local government trade negotiators before they sit down for high-level trade talks by the end of the year.

“We need to give an urgent document to negotiators to help them negotiate what developing countries are looking for,” explained Ranade.

“We are trying to facilitate a common platform for South Asian countri