US sees India critical to Doha trade talks' success

Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 06:00 Hrs
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Washington: The United States looks at India as a critical player in the Doha round of world trade talks and is hoping it will now become a "proactive and engaged participant" in the process.

"India obviously is a critical player and has a critical role to play in the success, or quite frankly, the failure of a Doha Round negotiation," US Trade Representative (USTR) Susan C. Schwab said.

"India is I think starting to step-up its participation," she said in response to a question about the role of "big developing countries" at a press briefing in Geneva on the US perspective on World Trade Organization.

India's Commerce Minister Kamal Nath had "expressed his support for the approach that we are taking when he was in Davos and I welcome that," said Schwab, according to the transcript of the briefing made available here by her office.

"It's my hope that going forward India will be a proactive and engaged participant in the process," she added.

Meeting at Davos last week, trade ministers of some 30 countries decided to resume full-scale talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) with Nath cautiously welcoming the decision with the hope that the development agenda will be preserved.

In reply to another question, Schwab said China has been a major source of intellectual property rights violations. "In fact if you look at where the problems have come from, China is first, Russia is second, and then there are other countries, Brazil and others, that have played into this."

She thought there is a genuine interest on the part of responsible governments to address the protection of intellectual property, piracy and counterfeiting issues with a commitment on the part of many Chinese leaders to address the problem.

But the statistics of pirated and counterfeit goods coming into the United States show that well over 70 percent such goods come from China and that number has been growing, not going down, Schwab said. "So this is an issue we need to address."

Coming out of Davos "a number of us emerged with a new sense of optimism and a sense of momentum that had been sorely lacking since July," said Schwab, reiterating that Washington is fully committed to a successful Doha Round outcome.

"There was clear agreement on the need to move forward with the Doha Round and a sense of urgency that if at all possible we need to identify a means of achieving a breakthrough and ultimately a successful trade agreement," she said.

"The focus of our discussions were how to turn this political will, this sense of urgency into reality," Schwab said knowing that this round needs to unlock the economic potential of new trade flows.
Source: IANS
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