India threatens to walk away from WTO talks

By agencies   |   Friday, 30 June 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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GENEVA: India Thursday threatened to walk away from a key WTO ministerial meeting aimed at framing a global trade accord here if the United States refused to make wider cuts on farm subsidies.

Indian Commerce Minister, Kamal Nath did not elaborate but indicated that the result of the Group of Six (G6) ministerial meeting of the United States, the European Union, Australia, Brazil, India and Japan later today would be crucial and threatened to "ring up my travel agent and get a flight home."

The talks, held at the sidelines of a meeting of around 60 countries, are being led by Brazil and India who have charged that United States is pouring massive subsidies to farmers to undercut its competitors.

The negotiations are seen by many as a last-ditch attempt to revitalize the stalled Doha Round of multilateral trade talks.

The WTO's 149 divided members, having repeatedly missed their targets for a deal, are under mounting pressure to complete the round for the December 2006 deadline fixed during a conference in Hong Kong last year.

Nath said he hoped the United States and other developed countries, including those in the European Union, would redeem their commitments in the Doha Round to help developing economies overcome trade obstacles to accelerate economic growth.

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