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'Breakthrough in WTO talks possible this year'

business Updated: Nov 24, 2008 13:00 IST
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With a "renewed" commitment by significant players like India and Brazil to revive the Doha Round of trade talks, a top White House official has said, there are chances of a breakthrough being achieved this year.

Although countries like India and Brazil were not part of the just concluded Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), there is a commitment from leaders of the two nations to see the Doha Round modalities done by the end of this year, Dan Price, Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs, said in a briefing en route to Andrews Air Force Base at the conclusion of the APEC meeting in Peru.

This commitment from the leaders of India and Brazil came at financial summit of the leaders of the Group of Twenty in Washington convened by President George W Bush to deal with the ongoing economic crisis.

"India and Brazil, while not at APEC, were at the G20 meeting. And like the other leaders at the G20 meeting, they threw their strong support, to reject protectionism and to get a Doha modalities agreement done this year. That was determination expressed at the leaders' level that included India and Brazil," Price said.

"We will seek to ensure that all leaders do what they say," he added. Though there is no set expiration date for the talks, the official said, a "very good" chance existed that modalities could be concluded this year.

"Countries feel that with a final push we stand a very good chance of concluding modalities this year. That will then leave... A significant amount of negotiation after modalities in terms of negotiating the precise tariff schedules, as well as making more concrete the services commitments," Price said.