Doha deal unlikely in 2010: Commerce Secretary

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New Delhi, Sept.13 (ANI): The Doha Round of Talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) s unlikely to happen in 2010 because of unwillingness of US to conclude the deal said Commerce Secretary Dr. Rahul Khullar on Monday.

Dr. Khullar however, expressed hope of a successful Doha conclusion in 2011, when pace of negotiations will pick up after the elections in US in November 2010. He assured Indian industry that there will be no major changes in India's position at the WTO, including on issues like compulsory participation on sectoral negotiations.

Speaking at the Conference on WTO and Bilateral Agreements, " Intelligent Economic Engagement, India's trade strategy for the coming decade" organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), here today, Dr Khullar said that the next decade, will see trade emerge as the major engine of India's economic growth.

He further added that the trade agenda over the next ten years would be determined by India's vision for the future. He encouraged Indian industry to look beyond short-term narrow interests and focus on the future prospects.

He said that there was fear of rise of protectionism in developed countries because of movement of industry from developing to developed countries.

He however expressed hope that this wave of protectionism would diminish in the next three to five years, paving the way for Indian industry to reap the opportunity.

Dr. Khullar predicted India's participation in several bilateral trade deals, surge in international demand for services, including movement of skilled workers, and a successful conclusion of WTO Talks as the major area of trade reform over the next decade.

R Seshasayee, Chairman, CII National Committee on Trade and Managing Director, Ashok Leyland Limited, said that India's strategy of signing various bilateral trade deals should be driven by industry needs and not driven by strategic and geopolitical motives.

He also talked about the rising threat of protectionism from developed countries including the recent hike in H1B Visa fees.

Deep Kapuria, Chairman and Managing Director, Hi-Tech Gears Limited encouraged Indian industry to invest more in research and development and domestically develop innovative products to make India a manufacturing hub of the World.

Kapuria felt that Indian manufacturing needs significant investment to overcome the some of the disadvantages of operating in India's high cost environement.

Som Mittal, President NASSCOM, said key services market access often lies in resolving behind the border issues related to regulatory barriers and standards, and India would have to take into account such barriers when negotiating FTAs.

Responding to Mittal's point, D.K. Mittal Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, said that the government is already taking up such issues at both the bilateral and multilateral levels, but greater industry participation and feedback is required for government to make a constructive intervention on industry's behalf with external stakeholders.

Mittal also asserted that a successful Doha round would result in greater market access for Indian exports while at the same time maintaining an adequate level of protection for Indian industries. (ANI)

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