Doha round in its 'last mile': Nath

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New Delhi, Oct 30:The Doha round, launched six years ago in Qatar to boost trade in agriculture, industry and services, and help poorer countries export more, is on its 'last mile', with countries wanting to go ahead and major nations closer than ever before, said Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath. ''Things have changed in the last two months and countries now want to go ahead with the process and a lot of convergence is happening on this. We are now on the last mile and if this mile can be run, we will be there. The draft paper prepared by the chairs have enabled countries to do their own stimulations,'' said Mr Nath.

Speaking at the Fortune Global Forum, Mr Nath added that the US Treasury Secretary Henry M Paulson has said US wants to see the current round of negotiations in Doha close and talked of a greater flexibility on the part of the US. ''I think they (US) are taking on board our sensitivity on certain issues.'' Mr Nath added that India will be flexible when it comes to commerce, but is not willing to negotiate on subsistence farming and livelihood.

Stressing that the sensitivity of all countries need to be addressed, Mr Nath said India has 650 million farmers and 300 million people live on less then one dollar a day and unless these sensitivity are taken on board, India cannot show greater flexibility. ''We hope in the next two months we can find some convergence on this.'' The Minister also said India growth story is not export led, but more domestic market driven. ''India is also not seeking the labour arbitrage but is able to seek investment because of its ability to innovate, adopt and adapt and skilled work force.'' Exuding confidence that India will continue to be a favourite parking lot for investment, Mr Nath said the country's fundamentals were strong and it now seeks to engage with the world economies at a greater level.


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