India flexible for Doha trade deal

New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) India is taking proactive measures and ready to make concessions to ensure a successful conclusion of the Doha round of multilateral trade talks, an official said here Tuesday.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma is scheduled to meet World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Pascal Lamy, chairs of the sub-groups on agriculture, industrial products and services and ambassadors of various informal groupings at the WTO headquarters in Geneva Wednesday to push for an early conclusion of the talks.

‘We are expecting some positive outcome from tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) meeting. India is committed for a successful multilateral trade agreement and is ready to show flexibility,’ said Amar Sinha, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The Doha round of talks for freer world trade have been stalled since July 2008 over differences between developed and developing economies over agriculture and non-agriculture market access (NAMA), especially the level of opening and protection of markets through tariff cuts and subsidies.

The US has been insisting that emerging economies like India, China and Brazil should open their markets to more imported goods and services. The developing countries are demanding that the US and European Union should cut their farm subsidies in exchange for cuts in agricultural tariffs.

India has said it would protect the interest of its farmers in the face of a rush of agricultural imports in the event of open trade.

‘Doha round is no more just a trade or business issue. It is a political issue and our leadership has shown commitment to conclude the talks,’ Sinha told reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

India hosted a ministerial meeting last year in New Delhi to revive the talks running into the ninth year. A successful conclusion of the Doha negotiations is estimated to give $500 billion push to the global economy.

Re-energising the Doha round would come up in the upcoming G20 summit in Seoul next month.

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