US and European trade officials are hoping to persuade major developing countries
such as India and Brazil to open up their markets for manufacturing goods against
some progress they claim in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks to reduce
US farm tariffs and subsidies.
representative Ujal Singh Bhatia and Brazilian negotiator Clodoaldo Hugueney refused
to say if their countries would be willing to accept a proposal by the WTO''s lead
industrial trade negotiator to cut tariffs on their most protected manufactured
products to a level between 19 and 23 per cent.
minister Kamal Nath, meanwhile, said in New Delhi that India would not adopt a
difficult stand at the WTO negotiations. He said India only wants a multilateral
trading system that corrects the existing structural flaws in the global trade
rather than perpetuates them. The rules of the game are very important for India
as it engages in the global trading system more and more.
subsidies and non-tariff barriers greatly distort the system and are not justified,
he told the India-America Chamber of Commerce. Nath, however, defended the protection
of intellectual property rights, saying it is important that India graduates from
user to producer of intellectual property.
negotiator Peter Allgeier said Washington is committed to negotiate within the
ranges of a draft WTO agriculture agreement and would prompt Argentina, Brazil,
India and others to make a similar commitment on a parallel WTO proposal for cutting
president George W Bush is likely to meet Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula
da Silva in New York next.