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News US sees conflicting signals on India’s stand on WTO   Email this page
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WASHINGTON: Stating there were conflicting signals coming from India on the ratification of the World Trade Organization trade facilitation agreement, a senior trade expert said any blocking of the global trade deal would undermine the confidence of the international trade community in the new Modi Government.
“I think, if India takes steps that undermines, the agreement, from my perspective that (would) seriously undermine the confidence the international business community has about the Modi Government,” Jake Colvin, vice president, Global Trade Issues at the National Foreign Trade Council told PTI.

“The international trade community is watching the Modi government’s decision very closely, which will send a clear signal one way or the other to investors, business owners, and policy makers,” an official familiar with the negotiations said.

“Everyone is hopeful that the Modi Government will make good on the promises India has made and join the other countries that are already taking action to implement trade facilitation and food stock piling,” said the official strictly on condition of anonymity.

It is learnt that the US had recently presented two separate papers to India.

However, sources familiar with the negotiations alleged that so far Indians have not engaged at all.

In fact, New Delhi rejected the second proposal without even reviewing it, informed sources said.

The first paper is believed was a national experience paper tabled in March, describing US approaches over the years to address concerns regarding food security.

The second, tabled last week, is understood to be a proposal for the work program on food security.

For example, it is reported to suggest the Secretariat compile a literature review on approaches to food security.

“The US business community is alarmed by the conflicting signals that is being sent by India about the WTO agreement and about what they are going to do with the agreement.

“We think that the deal is generally good for business and also short of inclusiveness, makes its easier for small and medium size business to engage in the global market place,” Colvin said. The American business community, Colvin said, has the impression that the Modi Government is pro-business and hoped that its election would result in co-operation with the international business.

India not ratifying the trade facilitation agreement reached last year in Bali, would be a strong signal that would counter that,” he said.

Hoping that all of the countries that agreed with the trade association agreement will implement it according to the provisions that were agreed to, Colvin said if India fails to do that, “it’s disappointing”.

Such a move, he said, would be harmful to the pro business image of the Modi Government, and also to the World Trade Organization. –PTI

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