India, US agree to build consensus on Doha round at WTO

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New Delhi, May 10 (UNI) Emphasising the need to conclude Doha round this year, India and the United States have agreed to work together to build consensus on divergent trade and services related issues at the World Trade Organisation.

However, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, during his meeting with US trade representative Susan Schwab in New York, said text on rules need to be revised before the ministerial meeting being held in Geneva in the next few weeks.

The global trade body wants to hold the ministerial meeting at the month-end but developing countries, including India, have been insisting that rules' text must be revised and agreed before such a meeting.

Mr Nath said, ''issues of farm subsidies and market access posed the greatest challenge during the ongoing agriculture negotiations at the WTO. The global trade body has to resolve these issues besides addressing instruments of special products and special safeguards sought by developing countries.'' The Ministry, in a statement issued today on the Kamal Nath-Susan Schwab meeting in New York, said both the leaders, however, underlined the need to conclude this year the Doha round of negotiations which have been in the works for six years.

Both India and the US agreed that a successful conclusion of the Doha round, consistent with its development mandate, would convey a strong message of global unity in the face of uncertainties in the world economy due to rising food and energy prices as well as financial turmoil in many countries, the statement added.

The two countries also agreed that in view of services' contribution to economic growth and employment, "an ambitious outcome of the services negotiations is essential".The Ministerial meeting to be held in Geneva in the next few weeks should provide clear and unambiguous indications regarding such an outcome, Mr Nath said, adding "without such clear signals on services, it would be difficult to make any progress." The Minister sought a revised text on rules before the Ministerial meeting as the earlier draft had been severely criticised by most members for its proposals on anti-dumping and fisheries subsidies. India, he said, would not accept any restraint on its ability to provide assistance to poor fishermen as the country could not ignore their livelihood concerns.

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