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The United States sees India’s traditional leadership role in the developing world as key to advancing stalled world trade talks, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said on Friday ahead of a visit to New Delhi. “India’s leadership is required to get a WTO agreement that will help the whole world and will help India as well,” said Gutierrez, who is to leave on Sunday for New Delhi.
He said Washington looked to India’s clout in the developing world to help the World Trade Organization’s Doha round of free trade talks get back on track. The talks were suspended six months ago amid deep divisions among members. “As other developing countries watch India, and they look for cues from India, we’ll need to see movement in agriculture, which of course we understand is a very important decision for India,” Gutierrez told reporters.
India also needs to help break deadlocks over freeing up trade in the manufacturing and service sectors, he said. The key to a deal lies in getting deeper U.S. cuts in farm subsidies, which developing countries say give farmers there an unfair market advantage, and in securing similar reforms on farm tariffs from the European Union, Japan and other big importers, analysts say.Â
The US president has also confirmed that his country will support Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organization, Russian foreign minister Sergei has Lavrov. George W. Bush ‘pledged to direct his negotiators in Geneva to help bring about an effective result as soon as possible,’ Lavrov told reporters Friday after a meeting with Bush here. The minister also said Bush was optimistic over the development of energy dialogue with Russia, and believes that ‘prospects for advancing energy dialogue with Russia are good.’The economics ministry expects to complete multilateral talks on the country’s admission to the global trade body by the middle of 2007.Â