Indian minister urges US to be flexible on trade

LONDON - The United States should show similar flexibility to that of the European Union in trying to resolve global trade negotiations, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said on Thursday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 1 Feb 2007, 9:22 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:46 PM

On Wednesday, the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) 150 states backed a call for a full-scale resumption of the Doha round of free trade talks, suspended six months ago due to deep divisions between members.

This comes days after world leaders agreed in Davos, Switzerland to resume the global free-trade talks.

“The EU indicated in Davos it has flexibility in moving closer to the G20 (developing country group) level,” Nath told Reuters.

“We are looking forward to the US responding ... They have to make a commensurate offer in terms of the boldness with which the EU has done in terms of rectifying structural flows in global trade, mostly in subsidies on agriculture.”

The comments echoed those of Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega who told Reuters on Wednesday that developed economies were now showing greater willingness to resolve the long-troubled global trade negotiations.

The key to a deal lies in getting deeper US cuts in farm subsidies, which developing countries say give farmers there an unfair market advantage, and in securing similar reforms from the EU, Japan and other big importers on farm tariffs.

Big developing countries such as Brazil and India would have to agree to open their markets, mainly to industrial goods and services but also, in the case of India, to farm goods.

Nath said India was willing to be flexible but that its people’s livelihood remained a priority.

“We have said we will do 2/3 of what developed countries will do. We are flexible as long as it does not impinge on the livelihood security of Indian subsistence farmers,” he added.

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