labels: world trade organisation, trade
Kamal Nath hopes India-US trade doubles by 2009 news
29 June 2007

Washington: Commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath expressed the hope that India-US bilateral trade would double by 2009 as India engages its largest trading partner to iron out divergences on issues of trade and commerce.

Nath, who is in Washington for the US-India Business Council''s 32nd anniversary met US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and had bilateral meetings with commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez, treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., agriculture secretary Mike Johanns, US trade representative Susan Schwab and World Bank president Robert Zoellick.

Speaking at a press conference in Washington, he said that India and the US enjoyed healthy relations with a total trade volume of almost $30 billion in the last fiscal, with the US accounting for 16.8 per cent of Indian exports and 6.3 per cent of its imports.

Nath reiterated India''s commitment to take the Doha round of World Trade talks forward as New Delhi wanted to see a strong multilateral system in place as a powerful instrument of delivering international prosperity.

"We, like the United States, do not want to see the multilateral system fractured by the failure of the Doha talks, and our inability to engage with each other candidly and fruitfully," he said, seeking mutual respect for each other''s sensitivities.

With no industrial tariffs, India can be flexible, Nath said and pointed out that such flexibilities are contingent upon other things such as ''non-agricultural market access'' (NAMA).

Distortions are caused by subsidies, Nath said offering to take 10-per cent higher cut than what the developed countries were willing to take. But US, in the name of a little headroom, wanted them to take double the cuts.

India, Nath said, is seeking a more balanced, a more just and a more development-oriented outcome in the WTO that redresses the structural flaws in global trade. The future of international trade lies not in tariff-reduction, which is going to happen in any case, but in meaningful reform of the rules, Nath said.

India is seeking a balanced package on services trade, as one could not afford to restrict the agreement to merchandise trade only in today''s globalised world. He pointed out that India had unilaterally taken steps to open its own services markets beyond what was required under the Uruguay Round commitments.

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Kamal Nath hopes India-US trade doubles by 2009