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US hints at cutting tariffs on goods, services
Manoj Kumar in Davos | January 24, 2008 13:52 IST
The US has said it is committed to a global trade deal by reducing tariffs and subsidies but expects other key WTO countries to reciprocate for successful completion of the Doha Round of talks.
Addressing delegates at the World Economic Forum meeting on Wednesday evening, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said America was ready to work in concert with other nations to remove trade barriers before expiry of President George Bush's term later this year. "President Bush and I remain committed to completing a successful Doha round, and my colleague Susan Schwab, who is here in Davos, is working to do just that," Rice said.
Referring to the ongoing WTO talks, she said President Bush has pledged that the US would cut tariffs, subsidies to facilitate free flow of goods and services, including agriculture, if other nations do the same. "We expect our partners to join us in finding a way to make Doha a success," she said.
Earlier, India's Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said Europe has indicated its willingness to review subsidies on agriculture products provided the US took a decision in this regard. Nath is expected to meet his Brazilian and Indonesian counterparts along with European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and WTO Chief Pascal Lamy on the sidelines of WEF meeting. The informal luncheon meeting, to be hosted by Swiss Economy Minister Doris Leuthard on January 26, is aimed at bridging differences between the developed and developing countries.
Officials said US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim and Kamal Nath were expected to attend the informal luncheon meet. Japanese Trade Minister Akira Amari, Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Pangestu and World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Pascal Lamy are also expected to attend the meet.
On fears of a slow down in the US economy, Rice said, "The US economy is resilient, its structure is strong and its long-term economic fundamentals are healthy and our economy will welcome foreign investment and free trade."
She pointed out that President Bush has already announced an outline of a meaningful fiscal growth package aimed at boosting consumer spending and support business investment this year. She said the US administration was closely working with the leaders of both parties in the Congress to agree upon "a stimulus package that is swift, robust, broad-based and temporary."
The US Federal Reserve has already announced cut in interest rate by 75 basis points with an objective to tide over the liquidity crunch and avert recession. Rice said other countries should have faith in the government's efforts as it was committed to welcome foreign investment and free trade.