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US Senator for trade curbs on India

india Updated: Jul 28, 2006 11:13 IST

The head of the powerful Senate Finance Committee has said the United States should not extend preferential trade treatment to India and Brazil, which he accused of blocking a move to liberalise the World Trade Organisation.

Republican Senator Charles Grassley told reporters, "Countries that don't want to give us access to their markets in the WTO negotiations, why should we continue to give them preferential treatment?"

He said he was sure upcoming US preferences were "not going to involve Brazil and India."

Brazil and India receive large benefits from a US Trade preference programme that allows dozens of developing countries to export thousands of products duty-free to the United States.

The preference programme expires at the end of the year. Congress must act on its renewal, and Grassley's committee would play a pivotal role in shaping the legislation.

Last month, Grassley expressed impatience "with countries that are developing just fine but want to be able to hang onto the (trade preference programme) to avoid tough negotiations."

On Monday, trade ministers called a halt to more than five years of trade liberalisation talks, saying differences over farm subsidies proved unbridgeable.

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