More reports on: World Trade Organisation

WTO trade talks to dominate Kerry's Indian agenda

30 July 2014

Just ahead of his visit to India, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he would press New Delhi to drop its opposition to global trade reforms (See: Kerry visit seen as repairing diplomatic ties, welcoming Modi).

In a newspaper article published on Tuesday, he said this would be a test of the country's commitment to advance trade and investment liberalisation.

The article was written jointly by Kerry and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, hours ahead of his arrival for talks aimed at revitalising Indo-US ties.

In World Trade Organisation talks, India has threatened to scuttle the so-called Trade Framework Agreement - which would streamline global customs procedures and must be ratified by WTO members by Thursday - unless the world body agrees to India's stockpiling of food.

Kerry said India stood to gain by setting up a level playing field instead of erecting trade barriers.

"In this regard, as we work with our trading partners around the world, India must decide where it fits in the global trading system. Its commitment to a rules-based trading order and its willingness to fulfil its obligation will be a key indication," he said in the article in The Economic Times.

India and the United States have already clashed at the WTO, with Washington saying Delhi's 11th hour resistance could kill a deal that could create 21 million jobs.

Kerry said India and the United States were on the cusp of an "historic transformation" in their relationship and that Washington stood behind India's rise as a political and economic power.

"We are coming to India to deliver a single message: that the U.S. is prepared to be a full partner in this effort. We will work hand in hand with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government to promote open and liberal trade and investment, jobs training and closer strategic ties," Kerry and Pritzker wrote.

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