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8/24/05

India wants WTO shield for Iran gas pipeline

New Delhi, Aug 24, IRNA-With India's petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar emphasizing that India would go ahead with the proposed dlrs 7-billion gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan, New Delhi is likely to seek improvements in World Trade Organization (WTO) rules related to such projects which involve freedom of transit , reports 'The Economic Times'.

Pipelines should be explicitly covered under Article V of GATT (General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade) which deals with freedom of transit, senior officials feel.

This could make sure that Pakistan does not disrupt flow of Iran gas to India. The government's efforts to source oil and gas from the Central Asian region would also get a boost if such projects - which involve flow of goods through several countries - are secured by WTO norms.

India's attempt to spruce up its energy security by acquiring equity in overseas oil fields would also gain from 'WTO security shield' once norms laid down under Article V of GATT are strengthened.

The WTO rule on freedom of transit was originally introduced for ensuring trade channels of land-locked countries not choked.

Now, India is looking at the possibility of using the same set of norms for securing gas supply through pipelines as the European Union has already initiated a discussion on the issue.

The petroleum and commerce department are examining various aspects related to transit pipelines, report said.

... Payvand News - 8/24/05 ... --



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