labels: world trade organisation, trade
US may deny preferential trade benefits to India news
08 August 2006
Mumbai: After the recent collapse of the Doha round of WTO talks, the US has held out veiled threats to deny India the benefits of preferential trade unless the country adopts a stance the US considers "beneficial to ending the stalemate in world trade talks". This was indicated by US trade representative Susan Schwab during a Congressional review.

The review follows complaints from Capitol Hill that countries like India and Brazil, which avail trade benefits, have not been helpful in efforts to achieve agreement in the Doha Round of global trade talks.

Washington wants to determine whether certain nations should be excluded from the generalised system of preferences programme, which grants duty-free treatment for goods from 133 developing countries, he said. India may be among the nations that could lose preferential trade benefits granted by the United States following a complaint from the Congress that these countries are not adopting a stand that is beneficial for solving the stalemate in WTO talks.

"Countries that don't want to give us access to their markets in the WTO negotiations, why should we continue to give them preferential treatment?" quipped Charles Grassley, the chair of the senate finance committee that has jurisdiction over any legislation to extend the GSP programme.

"For over 30 years, Congress has given the GSP programme broad bipartisan support. We believe this programme serves as an important bridge for developing countries to facilitate their transition from unilateral preferences to full economic partnership," Schwab said, adding "Both the US and participating countries benefit from expanded trade under GSP, and it is important that this programme be reauthorised when it expires at the end of the year."

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US may deny preferential trade benefits to India