US disappointed with India’s WTO stance, but remain optimistic

Penny_IndiaThe United States is “very disappointed” with India’s tough stance on multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organisation, but remains optimistic that New Delhi will sign on to the WTO trade facilitation deal.

“We are very disappointed that India has taken a step back from its agreements that it made in December at the WTO,” said US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in Mumbai. Pritzker is accompanying US Secretary of State John Kerry for the fifth India-US strategic dialogue, which is being held on July 31.

India has refused to sign the Trade Facilitation Agreement until it is accompanied by a parallel agreement giving it more freedom to subsidise and stockpile food grains than is currently allowed under the WTO rules.

India, home to a third of the world’s abjectly poor people, has argued that the Trade Facilitation Agreement would be detrimental to its ability to provide for its neediest citizens.

The US, on the other hand, has contended that India’s posture on the agreement would hamper the gains it would receive by creating a level playing field instead of erecting trade barriers.

“In that regard, as we work with our trading partners around the world to advance trade and investment liberalisation, India must decide where it fits in the global trading system. Its commitment to a rules based trading order and its willingness to fulfil its obligations will be a key indication,” wrote Kerry in an article co-authored by Pritzker.

Washington is concerned that New Delhi’s last moment resistance to the global trade deal would deprive the global economy of a trillion dollar stimulus and 21 million jobs.

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