India seeks a fair solution to Doha Round impasse (Lead)

June 18th, 2009 - 10:35 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 18 (IANS) India has told the US that while a “perfect solution” to the impasse over Doha Round of world trade talks may be elusive, it should be possible to find a fair solution keeping development central to it.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma conveyed New Delhi’s stand to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday as they discussed effects of the economic downturn on the two economies and the way ahead for World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations.

Sharma told Clinton that while a perfect solution may be elusive, it should be possible to find a fair solution acceptable to all parties, while keeping in mind that development was central to the Doha Round, the Indian embassy said.

Clinton told Sharma that the Obama administration was keen to work on developing a more comprehensive and intensive bilateral relationship with India to build on the progress over the last 15 years.

Sharma said New Delhi was looking forward to her visit to India and expressed confidence that her leadership would give a special impetus to the relations between the two countries.

He also briefed Clinton about the Indian programmes to stimulate domestic demand while providing a social security net to the most vulnerable sections of society, including through the successful implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Later, Sharma met US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and the two agreed to revive the dialogue on trade issues and to focus on resolving them to the extent feasible.

They welcomed the move towards resumption of Doha Round talks and agreed to work together towards resolving outstanding issues.

Sharma invited Kirk to visit India for the meeting of the G20 trade ministers as well as for bilateral discussions.

As they explored the ways and means for increasing bilateral trade and investment, Sharma spoke of numerous opportunities that could be harnessed in the bilateral economic relationship even against the background of the global downturn.

Earlier, speaking at the US-India Business Council’s Synergies Summit, Sharma noted that the existing level of India-US trade and economic engagement was not commensurate with the potential which existed in the wake of India’s far-reaching economic liberalisation.

Citing the findings of the study entitled ‘Contribution of the Indian industry to the US economy’ prepared for the India Brand Equity Foundation, Sharma mentioned that over 2004-07, Indian industry had contributed $105 billion to the US economy and created 300,000 jobs.

This, he said, revealed a story of commitment to optimise and to invest in the future of the relationship. India and the US were partners in progress and could together shape the 21st century, he said.

Sharma also discussed the Doha Round at a meeting at the US Congress with Sander Levin, Democratic chairman of the Sub-Committee on Trade of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Kevin Brady, its top Republican member.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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