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Bush seeks Indian cooperation on Doha

The US president wants the West to work closely with emerging economies like India and Brazil to expedite the world trade talks.

business Updated: Nov 11, 2007 13:57 IST
Arun Kumar

President George W Bush wants Germany, Europe and the US to work closely with emerging economies like India and Brazil to advance the Doha Round of world trade talks.

"We had a very good discussion on Doha," he said Saturday at a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Bush's Texas ranch without outlining his proposal on how to move forward the stalled talks

"We did discuss also - the president raised this issue also with me of the world trade round," said Merkel but did not indicate how she responded.

"It helps a lot for those of us who are engaged in international politics to get advice from people who have seen firsthand the attitudes of important players such as India," Bush said and he "appreciated very much the chancellor's briefing on her trip to India."

Launched in Doha, Qatar in 2001 with an aim to lower trade barriers, boost the global economy and help poor countries develop fast, the talks have stalled over differences among rich, developing and poor countries on issues ranging from agriculture subsidies to access to industrial goods.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath recetly indicated that a Doha agreement is "close to it like never before and US, I think, is taking on board India's sensitivity on agriculture."

The WTO draft proposal aimed at reviving the stalled talks suggested pruning agricultural subsidies in the range of $12.8 to $16.2 billion from the current $48.2 billion.

Merkel said she and Bush also discussed the issue of the United Nations reform of the Security Council. While some progress has been made already in this respect, "We're going to continue to talk about that."

On Iran, Bush said the US and its allies would continue efforts "to solve this problem (Iran's nuclear programme) diplomatically." Merkel also made similar comments.