India committed to global trading system

Monday, 24 September 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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New York: India is not adopting a tough stand at the global trade talks but seeking corrections in the multilateral pact to remove distortions and help eradicate poverty in the developing world, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath has said.

"We will play by the rules. We are committed to the World Trade Organisation (WTO)," the minister said at a meeting organised at the Harvard Club Friday by the India-America Chamber of Commerce (IACC) and the Indian consulate here.

Highlighting the plight of farmers in developing countries, the minister urged global investors and entrepreneurs to advocate the need to remove agricultural subsidies by developed nations.

The global trade talks under the aegis of the WTO were launched in Doha, Qatar in 2001 with an aim to lower trade barriers, boost the global economy and help poor countries develop fast.

The negotiations have stalled due to sharp and complicated differences among the multilateral organisation's rich, developing and poor countries on issues ranging from agriculture subsidies to access to industrial goods.

On the issue of India being globally regarded for its stringent intellectual property rights (IPR), Kamal Nath said: "India is a producer of intellectual property rights, not user."

The minister also highlighted the key drivers responsible for India's nine percent economic growth. "The country has become a manufacturing hub. It is the largest producer of entrepreneurs and we are a youthful nation comfortable with globalisation."

Comparing India's success story with China's, he said: "Our growth is not state-driven, it is private-sector driven. The government's role is of a facilitator only. After the reforms, the government is now focusing on governance."

He pointed out that India was a big importer as well. Its non-oil imports in fiscal 2006-07 stood at $124 billion.

Adding that reforms still face two major challenges, Kamal Nath said: "One is turning subsistence agriculture into commerce. The other is inclusive growth - ensuring that the growth touches all sections of society."

The minister, who is visiting New York in connection with the multi-event Incredible India@60 festival in the city, said the Indian economy was ready for take-off.

"We are in the departure lounge with boarding pass in hand," he added.
Source: IANS
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