Kamal Nath calls upon US, EU to cut subsidies and break Doha impasse

Mumbai, Nov 29 | Updated: Nov 30 2006, 07:05am hrs
The Centre on Wednesday reiterated that US and European Union should cut farm subsidies as it is a great threat to subsistence farmers. The Union commerce minister Kamal Nath, before leaving for Geneva to break impasse over the Doha talks, on Wednesday reiterated that India would never compromise on interest of subsistence farmers. Indias subsistence farming was not trade. Let US and EU should come forward with flexible stand, he added.

Nath was talking to reporters at the sidelines of the Indo-US business summit organised jointly by the Centre, US department of commerce, FICCI and CII.

The WTO negotiations, officially known as the Doha Development Agenda, were suspended indefinitely in July after countries had failed to reach a consensus on cuts in agricultural subsidies and tariffs. Several nations, including India, insisted on sheltering many so called sensitive or special products considered by them to be essential to food security, livelihood security or rural development.

The stand-off continues as India, China and other developing countries made a a strong case for the US and the EU to cut subsidies. However, the United States and other Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies said they stand ready to cut subsidies and tariffs to restart the WTO negotiations and urged other countries to show similar resolve. On the other hand, the EU asked India to show flexibility in granting real market access, both in agriculture and industry so that the stalled WTO Doha round negotiations can be re-started.

Meanwhile, Nath assured the US business and industry members that the Centre was taking steps to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and provide better infrastructure facilities.

He informed that almost all state governments too were carrying the reform agenda forward and trying to provide a more congenial environment for business.