‘More convergence’ in India-US Doha Round talks

May 9th, 2008 - 3:39 pm ICT by admin  

New York, May 9 (IANS) India and the US now have more convergence on the Doha round of trade talks than a year ago and are determined to see it through at the soonest while keeping in mind sensitivities of the two nations, says India’s Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and US Trade Representative Susan Schwab. Addressing a press conference with Schwab after their meeting here Thursday, the Indian minister agreed that the two nations must head towards market access for each other but reiterated India’s concerns, particularly relating to agriculture.

Their next meeting will be in Washington June 11.

Kamal Nath added: “As India engages with the global economy more and more it is essential that we strengthen the rule based multilateral trading system.”

In the context of the perceived slowdown of the global economy, he said: “It becomes more important that we close this round of talks at the earliest. Some consensus has to develop by June if things have to move forward.”

Referring to his talks with Schwab, Kamal Nath said: “We also discussed the role we can play on the issues with third countries, European Union, for instance. We would like to see joint effort in trying to iron out those differences.”

Schwab said she agreed with Kamal Nath’s “sense of momentum and objective about achieving successful conclusions of the Doha Round as soon as possible”, and added that US President George Bush was committed to the successful conclusion of this round in 2008 before his term gets over.

“This is a development round,” Schwab said. “There is really need for a round that generates economic growth, economic development, alleviates poverty, and we feel a sense of momentum, a sense of urgency and the need to move ahead as expeditiously as possible.”

Describing her dialogue with Kamal Nath as “constructive”, Schwab said: “We have a sense of the path forward, both working together and working with our other colleagues in WTO to see if we can make this happen both for the sake of the Indian economy, for the sake of the US economy and the sake of the economies of our trading partners.”

She conceded that the two sides had issues on subsidies but said they also agreed that it had to be part of the negotiations.

“The key is to act in a way that would generate growth and development and to be respectful of each other’s ambitions and sensitivities and try to nudge each other and our trading partners to go as far as possible to get the maximum possible benefit for each other and for the world,” she said.

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