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India says Doha deal does not need to be perfect

Last Updated: Saturday, October 31, 2009 - 12:57

New Delhi: India on Friday warned negotiators against holding out for the best possible outcome on individual issues in Doha, saying it blocked progress at a time when patience with the world trade talks was wearing thin.

Trade secretary Rahul Khullar, speaking at a gathering of trade officials and experts, said countries should compromise on a "lite" position in tricky disputes to push dialogue forward.
"I plead and implore with you that it is a very good time to bank what you can get right now," Khullar said. "What`s wrong with Doha lite? If that`s all you can get done at this point of time, why are we not going ahead and doing it?"

Countries such as India say a global commerce deal would deliver a boost to the world economy in the wake of financial crisis and help stave off protectionism.

But Doha remains elusive after eight years of talks, and the World Trade Organisation warned countries will miss a 2010 target for a deal unless the pace of negotiations was stepped up.

The talks broke down in July 2008 in a row over farm and industry tariffs, for which some critics in developed countries blamed India. The dialogue has since resumed, which negotiators say has often been frustratingly slow.
"How long are we going to do this dance and get nothing done?" Khullar said. "People`s patience has worn extremely thin."

Estimates of the value of an agreement, which would be phased over several years, vary. Washington`s Peterson Institute for International Economics, says it could raise world GDP by USD 300-700 billion a year.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, October 31, 2009 - 12:57

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