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India threatens to walk away from WTO talks

The developing countries, led by Brazil and India, have charged that United States is pouring massive subsidies to farmers to undercut its competitors.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2006 03:38 IST

India on Thursday threatened to walk away from a key WTO ministerial meeting aimed at framing a global trade accord in Geneva if the United States refused to make wider cuts on farm subsidies.

Asked if Washington refused to offer deeper cuts on subsidies for American farmers at a crucial meeting on Thursday, Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath told a news conference, "I'll ring up my travel agent and get a flight home."

He did not elaborate but indicated that the result of the Group of Six (G6) ministerial meeting of the United States, the European Union, Australia, Brazil, India and Japan later on Thursday would be crucial.

The developing countries, led by Brazil and India, have charged that United States is pouring massive subsidies to farmers to undercut its competitors.

The talks are being held at the sidelines of a meeting of around 60 countries centered on formulating ways to cut farm subsidies and tariffs for manufactured goods and agricultural products.

The negotiations are seen by many as a last-ditch attempt to revitalise the stalled Doha Round of multilateral trade talks.

The WTO's 149 divided members, who have repeatedly missed their targets for a deal, are under mounting pressure to complete the round for the December 2006 deadline fixed during a conference in Hong Kong last year.

Nath said he hoped the United States and other developed countries, including those in the European Union, would redeem their commitments in the Doha Round to help developing economies overcome trade obstacles to accelerate economic growth.