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'Success of Doha talks would give big push to trade'

March 19, 2010 12:41 IST

The successful conclusion of the Doha round of trade negotiations would substantially augment global trade, Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma said here.

"It is clear and there is no disputing the fact that the success of these talks will help in augmenting global trade substantially," Sharma said at a conference at the conclusion of his three-day trip to Washington.

During his visit, Sharma met United States Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman.

Besides bilateral trade and commerce, Sharma said Doha negotiations figured prominently in the talks.

"We have touched upon the ongoing Doha round of the WTO impressing upon the need to take this forward to a successful conclusion as was said repeatedly last year by our leaders at various summits. We have exchanged notes on the progress in Geneva," he said.

Sharma said India had taken an initiative to re-energise the stalled Doha round of the WTO by reaching out to the developing and developed countries, impressing upon the need to enhance global trade, by putting in place all issues to have an equitable multilateral trade regime.

"Aspirations of all the countries are common that there should be a global trade regime which is balanced is equitable which is also fair

so that it corrects the past and historical imbalances and addresses the core agenda of the Doha round of the WTO i.e; development without any dilution," he said.

"But the successful conclusion will enhance global commerce; it will give better market access to poor countries, the LDC, the developing countries and at the same time give benefit and rewards to the developed countries," he argued.

Emphasizing the need to build upon what has already been invested in, Sharma said: "A huge investment has been made by the countries of the world over the last seven eight years trying to reach an agreement.

"Therefore, we are all for taking substantive measures to reach an understanding which addresses all the legitimate aspirations particularly the developmental concerns of poor."

In the meeting with Kirk, Sharma discussed a wide-range of issues pertaining to bilateral trade and investment. The Minister spoke about the benefits of commencing negotiations on a Totalization Agreement.

"Due to the absence of such an agreement, Indian companies in the US were making double payments of social security, without getting any benefits," he said.

With US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack he discussed co-operation in the field of agriculture that could be leveraged to strengthen agricultural productivity, and promote agro-based industry in India.

On March 19, Sharma is set to meet US industry, including meetings with the Board of US Council for International Business and the India Business Forum, at New York.

Lalit K Jha
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