labels: economy - general, world trade organisation
India key to success of WTO trade talks - USTRnews
14 April 2007

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab says India will play a crucial role if a new global free trade treaty is negotiated by the end of 2007 as its views would determine the stand of other developing countries.

Ministers from Brazil, India, the European Union, the United States, Australia and Japan -- the so-called Group of Six (G6) -- breathed fresh life into sluggish negotiations on Thursday by setting a 2007-end deadline to conclude a treaty.

Addressing a trade conference in New Delhi Schwab said, "India is in a profoundly important position in these negotiations -- one of a handful of countries that can make or break the Doha round.Moreover, the nature of India''s engagement will determine that of many other developing countries in G20 and G33."

Schwab said India and the US have been holding bilateral talks to find common ground and narrow down differences. India and Brazil have donned the mantle of key representatives of developing nations and hold considerable influence on larger groupings.

Since its launch in 2001, the World Trade Organisation''s (WTO) Doha round has been mired in disagreements over US farm subsidy cuts, the EU''s trade tariffs and the developing world''s market access for agricultural and industrial goods and services.

Trade ministers from the European Union, Brazil, India and the United States are meeting again in mid-May in efforts to find a breakthrough, to the negotiations that had all but collapsed in July 2006.

The ministers, who comprise the G-4 group, told WTO chief Pascal Lamy in a letter, "We are conscious of our responsibility to facilitate a consensus amongst the wider WTO membership and we will work with a view to contributing to the decision making process of negotiating groups in Geneva in a timely manner."

But Schwab stressed any breakthrough had to include more market access on agriculture, industry and services. "Nothing will give a bigger boost to development than a strong market-opening outcome that generates new trade flows in all three major areas of the negotiations -- agriculture, manufactured goods and services."

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India key to success of WTO trade talks - USTR