India and the United States, whose stand over agricultural subsidies scuttled the last Doha Round talks of the World Trade Organisation, today held positive talks on the Doha process in Bali, Indonesia.
In his special address to the Cairns group, in Bali today, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma reiterated the Indian commitment to the successful conclusion of the Doha process through a constructive engagement.
While emphasising on the need for resumption of negotiations based on the draft reports on agriculture and NAMA, the minister said the 'development dimension' of the Doha Round must be central to all discussions and the aspirations of all developing countries for a fair trading regime must be recognised.
Reports also quoted a spokeswoman for US trade representative Ron Kirk as saying on the sidelines of the Cairns Group meeting that the talks between Kirk and Sharma was "very friendly."
Cairns group is a coalition of 19 agricultural exporting countries promoting free trade in agriculture. These include the US, Canda, Brazil, Japan, EU, South Africa, Indonesia among other countries.
During the meeting, Sharma said, he had a fruitful round of discussions with US Trade representative Ron Kirk.
This is the first time that the Indian commerce minister has had a substantive ministerial engagement with the US in the Obama administration. The two ministers agreed to take forward the multilateral negotiations and to review the US-India bilateral engagement during the visit of Sharma to Washington later this month.
Sharma also held talks with his ministerial counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Indonesia. He is scheduled to hold discussions with WTO director-general Pascal Lamy tomorrow.
The Doha deal is estimated to generate trade worth $150 billion for the world economy and is considered even more important with the world facing its worst economic crisis in decades.