US agree to bridge Doha differences
June 13 (IANS) Ending their public acrimony, India and the
US have agreed to intensify efforts to "narrow the differences
and to build on convergences" to find the elusive breakthrough
in the Doha round of world trade talks.
Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and the US Trade Representative
Susan C. Schwab had "agreed that every effort should
be made to conclude the Doha Round as expeditiously as possible,"
Indian embassy officials said after a meeting here between
the two Thursday.
this end, senior officials of the two countries would intensify
their engagement at Geneva over the coming weeks to narrow
the differences and to build on convergences," they said.
from the developing and developed world are trying to hammer
out the outlines of an overall deal that trade ministers will
use as a starting point if they come together in Geneva in
late June or early July.
demands for greater market access in agriculture, manufacturing
and services sectors in the emerging economies like India
and China and New Delhi's insistence on the need to protect
the interests of its millions of subsistence farmers are the
key differences in their approach.
speaking at the US-India Global Partnership Summit Global
Partnership Summit, organised by the US-India Business Council
(USIBC), Kamal Nath said criticism in the US that India had
been "a roadblock" in the way of a deal was "unfair
senior US official had Monday accused India of trying to wreck
the global trade liberalisation talks, asking it to take responsible
leadership as a major economic power "rather than working
behind the scenes for Doha's demise".
continues to insist that it and other developing countries
be protected from real market opening in industrial goods,
agriculture and services, and also asks rich nations to do
ever more, US Under Secretary of Commerce Christopher Padilla
said at a forum.
by TV show host Charlie Rose at the event, he pointed to US
farm subsidies, which India and others insist must be reduced
to help poor-country farmers compete, as an example of each
country's most sensitive issues.
also voiced optimism the round would succeed, as there was
a determination to conclude the talks "like never before"
but it would be critical to respect and harmonise sensitivities
of different countries.
round will close with respecting each other's sensitivities,"
Nath said. "We need to harmonise these sensitivities
and get the maximum mileage we can ... No country can get
everything, but no country is going to give everything away."
rule-based multilateral system was as critical to India as
it was to US, given India's growing engagement with the world,
separately at the same event, Schwab too urged an end to the
stalemate in the Doha round after more than five years of
tough negotiations, but unlike Padilla she steered away from
public criticism of India striking a more conciliatory note.
single country, not the United States, not India, is in a
position to solve Doha round. There is no silver bullet,"
she said while asking advanced developing countries to provide
"meaningful" tariff reductions.
are countries out there involved in the round who are pushing
for the lowest common denominator outcome. If those countries
continue to be listened to or catered to ... then we've got
a serious problem," Schwab said.
too voiced optimism about the successful completion of the
Doha round saying: "Something may be about to happen,
folks, and I hope you're paying attention." Even with
about seven months left before Bush leaves office, she promised
to "sprint to the finish."
note of the exponential growth in India-US bilateral trade
and investment, Kamal Nath told the 600-strong audience, which
included CEOs of leading US and Indian companies, that trade
and investment was now a two way street.
the last year India had invested more in US than US had in
India. It had also created more jobs in America and US exports
to India too had grown by 75 percent making it the fastest
growing export destination for US.
was possible only because India had a healthy economy and
its continued health and growth meant further opportunities
and markets for US. The rapidly increasing two-way investment,
he said, was a testimony of the growing mutual confidence
of the business communities in both countries.
from his formal talks with top US officials, Nath also met
Schwab, Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer, Commerce Secretary
Carlos M. Gutierrez, former USTR Rob Portman at a dinner hosted
by Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen Wednesday.
Ackerman, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle
East and South Asia and Jim McDermott, Chairman of the Congressional
Caucus on India and Indian Americans also attended the dinner.