US, India to intensify engagement on Doha Round

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Washington, Jun 13: The United States of America and India agreed to intensify their engagement in Geneva over the coming weeks to narrow down their differences on the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) and to build on convergences. The agreement was reached at a meeting here yesterday between Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and US Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Susan C Schwab.

Their discussions focused on how to move the DDA forward, promising to make every possible effort to conclude the Doha Round as expeditiously as possible, says an official statement. In answer to a question about the Doha Development Round, the Minister reiterated that a rule-based multilateral system was as critical to India as it was to the United States, given India's growing engagement with the world. He expressed optimism about the completion of the Round, adding that it would be critical to respect and harmonize sensitivities of different countries. ''No one will get everything they want, but no one will give away everything,'' he said.

Earlier, Mr Nath was interviewed by well-known TV personality Charlie Rose at the 33rd Anniversary Global Partnership Summit of the US-India Business Council on the theme of ''India in the 21st century -- Partner in Free-Market Democracy.'' Speaking to the 600-strong audience, which included CEOs of leading US and Indian companies and representatives of the Government, Mr Nath said fundamentals of Indian economy were strong and a real growth momentum had built up over the last few years.

He said it was India's intellectual and entrepreneurial skills that explained its unprecedented economic growth. Moreover, its democratic structure assured the sustainability of this trend.

Replying to a question about the basis of India-US partnership, the Minister said its strength derived from the convergence based on shared values, similar ways of doing business and robust institutions like vibrant stock exchanges.

Speaking of the exponential growth in bilateral trade and investment, the Minister said over the last year India had invested more in the United States than the US had in India.

Moreover, US exports to India had grown by 75 per cent making it the fastest growing export destination for the US.

Mr Nath also met with US Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer Commerce Secretary Carlos M Gutierrez, and Congressman Gary Ackerman, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the West Asia and South Asia and Congressman Jim McDermott, Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.

UNI

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