Disappointed with India's blocking WTO trade deal: US

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 18:26

Mumbai: The US is "very disappointed" with India's stand at the ongoing Trade Facilitation Agreement talks at the WTO but Washington continues to be optimistic about salvaging the deal within tomorrow's deadline, a top Obama administration official said Wednesday.

"We are very disappointed that India has taken a step back from its agreements that it made in December (last) at the WTO," visiting US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said during an interaction.

The comments come in wake of New Delhi's tough stand which has put a question mark on the passage of the TFA at the ongoing Geneva talks aimed at easing customs rules in the WTO's 160 member countries.

India is seeking a guarantee on food security for its hundreds of millions of poor as a pre-condition for the passage of the pact.

The agreement, drafted during a ministerial at the Indonesian resort town of Bali last December, has to be sealed by July 31.

"I am an optimist, I am hopeful that over the next couple of days there is some potential for resolution... I'm hopeful that even in the last remaining days India might find a way to come to a solution on this issue," Pritzker said.

"I think it is quite consequential for India to walk away from the deal it had made. I think it will have serious implications and ramifications for the Doha round of talks," Pritzker warned, but said she continues to be "optimistic" about a truce being reached.

She recalled that in the past, the US and the G-20 grouping had worked hard to "reassure India" on its concerns, including food security.

New Delhi's contention has received the backing of only a few of the developing countries like Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia, while others like Thailand, Pakistan and China are backing TFA.

"To jeopardise the food security of millions at the altar of a mere anomaly in the rules is unacceptable," New Delhi had told the two-day general council meeting that concluded in Geneva last week.

"My delegation is of the view that the adoption of the TFA protocol be postponed till a permanent solution on public stock holding for food security is found," Indian Ambassador to the WTO Anjali Prasad had said.

According to some estimates, the passage of the TFA will boost the global trade by USD 1 trillion (around Rs 60 lakh crore).

First Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 17:13

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