Emerging economies have to assume responsibilities: US on WTO

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D Ravi Kanth

Geneva, Jan 13 (PTI) The stalled Doha round of tradenegotiation can conclude this year only if the emergingeconomies like India, China and Brazil accept the"responsibilities" that come along with their position in theglobal economy, a senior US trade official said today.

"If they are not prepared to accept the responsibilitywe wouldn''t (have a successful outcome)," said AmbassadorMichael Punke, the US trade envoy to the World TradeOrganisation.

He said the Doha Round of WTO talks can be concludedonly if emerging economies "accept the responsibilities thatcome along with their position in the global economy".

In what appears to be an attempt to shift the blame oflack of progress in the long-stalled negotiation on developingcountries, the US trade envoy said he is "disappointed" withChina for not being willing to negotiate on substantivedemands Washington raised in the sectoral tariff elimination.

India, said Ambassador Punke, is adopting "one stepforward and one step backward" approach.

"My personal assessment of India is that it''s one stepforward, one step back. Signals we have received from Indiahave been very mixed," he observed.

"We were on a cusp of entering into ... specific typesof discussion... (that were) critical for the juncture thatwe''re at now," said Ambassador Punke, following his meetingwith Indian trade officials in August last year.

However, upon his return, those "never materialiseddespite our efforts to engage," he said.

A senior Indian trade official told PTI that "Indiawill adhere to the ''rules of engagement'' as set out in theDoha Development Agenda to conclude the negotiations thisyear".

"But it will not accept demands for ''mandatory''participation in sectoral tariff negotiations or provideaccess for remanufactured goods as demanded by the UnitedStates and other developed countries," the official said,preferring anonymity.

"In the spirit of accommodation, India willparticipate in the sectoral tariff talks on a voluntary basisas stipulated in the Doha mandate," the official added,arguing that India''s industrial growth dropped to the lowestlevel of 2.5 per cent.

Brazil''s trade envoy Ambassador Roberto Azevedomeanwhile said that the US has a "misguided sense ofequilibrium".

"If this round is unbalanced it is certainly to thedetriment of developing countries," he told PTI, emphasisingthat the developmental mandate of the round should not beundermined. .

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