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Second-best Doha deal is better than nothing, says India news
31 October 2009

India on Friday warned world trade negotiators against holding out for the best possible outcome on individual issues in Doha, saying it blocked progress at a time when patience with the world trade talks was wearing thin.

Trade secretary Rahul Khullar, speaking at a gathering of trade officials and experts, said countries should compromise for a "lite" position in tricky disputes to push dialogue forward.

"I plead and implore with you that it is a very good time to bank what you can get right now," Khullar said. "What's wrong with Doha lite? If that's all you can get done at this point of time, why are we not going ahead and doing it?"

Countries such as India say a global commerce deal would deliver a boost to the world economy in the wake of financial crisis and help stave off protectionism.

But Doha remains elusive after eight years of talks, and the World Trade Organisation warned that countries will miss a 2010 target for a deal unless the pace of negotiations was stepped up.
The talks broke down in July 2008 in a row over farm and industry tariffs, for which some critics in developed countries blamed India. The dialogue has since resumed, but negotiators say it has often been frustratingly slow.
"How long are we going to do this dance and get nothing done?" Khullar said, adding, "People's patience has worn extremely thin."

Estimates of the value of an agreement, which would be phased over several years, vary. Washington's Peterson Institute for International Economics says it could raise world GDP by $300-700 billion a year.

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Second-best Doha deal is better than nothing, says India