New Delhi, June 16: The new governments of India and the US are trying to narrow down their differences on subsidies and market access, which can lead to the successful conclusion of the Doha round of trade talks.
According to Indias commerce secretary Rahul Khullar, The Doha round is kicking off again with the US and India working together and moving forward.
New Delhi and Washington are talking and this is a positive signal. Global media had projected that the differences between two sides had stalled the talks. The message now is that the two sides are talking, he said.
Under the Doha round of talks, which commenced in 2001, negotiations revolved around rich nations, such as the US and the EU, lowering their farm subsidies and tariffs in exchange for China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies opening up their markets to the imports of farm goods and manufactured products.
The talks had collapsed last July, with India and China failing to agree with the US on measures to protect the markets of developing countries from a sudden surge in farm imports.
However, with Barack Obama coming to power in the US and India having a new trade minister, the chances of a deal have brightened.
During his three-day stay in Washington from tomorrow, commerce minister Anand Sharma will hold discussions with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, commerce secretary Gary Locke and trade representative Ronald Kirk. Sharma had a discussion with Kirk in Bali last week where he reiterated Indias commitment towards the Doha round.
WTO director-general Pascal Lamy has said that WTO members would meet in Geneva this year to formulate a road map that would help lead to the conclusion of the round. We should complete it by 2010, he had said.
According to Lamy, 80 per cent of the negotiations were over. Ron Kirk and Anand Sharma are clearly engaging in a process that should lead to the conclusion of the round sometime next year.
Trade analyst Abhijit Das of Unctad said that to cover the extra mile a tremendous amount of political consensus was necessary. The political momentum cannot be ignored as they remain crucial in resolving the knotty issues and the changes in the US and India could give the necessary impetus.