Focus will now shift to bilateral pacts: Nath

New Delhi, July 25 | Updated: Jul 26 2006, 05:30am hrs
Commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday said India would now focus on bilateral and regional trade pacts, building blocks for the multilateral trading system.

Addressing the media after his return from Geneva, the minister said negotiations for bilateral/ regional trade pacts were on with a number of countries including the European Union and Japan.

Kamal Nath also hinted at raising the duty levels on some sensitive farm products, now that the WTOs Doha Round talks have been suspended.

There was no road map for future (of the Doha Round), as there was a big gap in mindsets, he said. Referring to the US stubborn refusal to make meaningful reductions in overall trade-distorting support (OTDS) for the farm sector, Kamal Nath squarely blamed the country for the collapse of the talks.

In Parliament, the minister said that the collapse of the talks would neither hurt the Indian economy nor would it hit India-US trade or economic cooperation. Officials said further movement in trade talks could now be possible only next year, after the US congressional elections in November. Nath said India would not import subsidised products from that country, as that could impinge on the liveliohood of Indian farmers.