Confident of greater bilateral trade and enhanced cooperation at global economic platforms, the US today said it is ready to increase engagement with India to find new common ground at WTO and asserted that the future looks “bright” for this global trade body.
The comments assume significance as during the WTO’s Nairobi Ministerial conference, differences had surfaced between developing countries including India and developed economies including the US on issues related to the Doha Round, public stockholding for food security purposes and new issues being pushed by the rich nations.
“In our view, the future looks bright for the WTO and we remain ready to increase our engagement with India to find new common ground after years of impasse in the Doha round,” Jeff Zients, Director of the National Economic Council, told PTI in an interview.
He also said that the proposed Bilateral Investment Treaty between India and the US needs to be of “sufficiently high standard” and discussions would continue to achieve this outcome.
Zients, who will be in India this week for the second US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, further said: “We are already working with India and other WTO members to find new ways forward to take up pending Doha Round issues and to ensure that the WTO’s agenda remains relevant, particularly with respect to issues such as the digital economy and interests of small and medium enterprises.
“The last two WTO Ministerial Conferences in Bali and Nairobi were significant successes, including outcomes on the Trade Facilitation Agreement, agricultural export subsidies, and public stockholding for food security purposes.”
He added: “We recently built on these successes at the G-20 Trade Ministers Meeting in Shanghai where we made commitments on lowering the costs of trade, coordinating efforts to reinforce trade and investment, and supporting sound agriculture policies.”
Zients also serves as Assistant to the US President for Economic Policy. Previously, he was appointed by the President to a newly created position of United States Chief Performance Officer. Prior to joining the Administration, Zients spent 20 years in the private sector as a CEO, management consultant and entrepreneur.
During his India visit, he would co-chair the second US-India CEO Forum alonside the US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.