In the face of unbridgeable differences among the developed and the developing countries, Australia is eager to secure consensus over a small menu of issues through Plan B, scaling down the ambitions of the Round, sources said.
Australia wants that difficult issues relating to market access - agriculture, industrial goods, and services must be taken up next year. Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson had a meeting with Sharma.
But India, South Africa and Brazil want that members must strive to realise the much-promised developmental gains, said an Indian official.
In a statement, Sharma said developed countries are seeking to put more demands on the developing nations for market opening. It said progress already made must be protected.
Sharma said after taking aggressive cuts in tariff rates under the Swiss Formula, it would be difficult for emerging economies to accept "top-ups" which are sought to be made mandatory.
"Developed countries must appreciate our sensitivities, our autonomous liberalisation, the development dimension and the impact on our local industries" in case the developing countries commit to slash import duties, he said.
The developed world is seeking a multilateral agreement on drastic cuts or elimination of duties in specific areas through the so called 'sectoral' negotiations.
In all, there are 14 products which are under various stages of discussion with respect to the proposal but three sectors are very aggressively being pursued by the US and EU.
These are chemicals, electronics and electrical equipment and industrial machinery.
India and other developing countries insist that such a duty elimination should be voluntary and not mandatory.
Sharma expressed concern "at the attempt to shift the discourse from development to purely mercantilist issues, most of them having scant relevance for developing countries". (ddi news)