WTO meet at Bali: India, US review preparations

The meeting was held in Brunei where for the Asean Ministerial Meeting is taking place.

New Delhi: Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday reviewed preparations for the forthcoming WTO meeting in Bali with US Trade Representative Michael Froman.

The meeting was held in Brunei where for the Asean Ministerial Meeting is taking place.

Sharma said both India and US are constructively engaged in dialogues for positive and balanced outcome from the Bali meeting by addressing issues of trade facilitation and food security.

"Both reviewed the ongoing negotiations in the WTO in view of the preparation for the Bali Summit. They also discussed the future roadmap for the Doha Development Agreement negotiations for successful conclusion," an official statement said here.

The release also said India is looking forward to greater US participation in manufacturing and R&D sectors.

Sharma is attending the Asean Ministerial Meeting in Brunei.

The 9th WTO Ministerial Conference will be held in Bali from December 3-6.

Under the trade facilitation agreement, WTO members are negotiating on simplifying and harmonising customs rules and reducing transaction cost.

The Ministerial conference is the highest decision-making body of the 158-member multilateral organisation which meets at least once every two years.

The Doha Round of talks, which was launched in 2001, have missed several deadlines for its conclusion due to divergent views on some of the issues between the developed countries and the developing nations.

Earlier, at the Informal East Asia Summit (EAS) Economic Ministers Meeting, all the ministers emphasised on the need of a tangible outcome from the Bali meet.

"India is expecting a balanced outcome in the early harvest package including our concerns on public stock holding of food grains," Sharma is quoted in the statement. An early harvest from the Bali meet would sustain faith in the multilateral trading system, it added.

The statement further said in consultations between Asean Economic Ministers and Sharma, the ministers took note of "completion of legal scrubbing of India-ASEAN Agreements on Trade in Services and Investment and endorsed the texts of these agreements."

India and Asean have implemented free trade pact in goods and are in the process of widening the base of the agreement by including trade in services and investments.

"This brings to the completion the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement process between India and ASEAN," it said.