India will not be pressured to change its agenda at any cost

Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar on Friday said the Doha round of talks under the World Trade Organization (WTO) umbrella were ‘stuck'.

“Doha is stuck. The question arising in everyone's mind is where do we go from here?'' Mr. Khullar said here.

Talking to reporters, Mr. Khullar termed as ‘rude' the sharp attack by U.S. Ambassador to WTO Michael Punke on India's restrictive trade policy in the area of farm tariffs in Geneva on September 14. “One thing is clear that it would not be possible to conclude the Doha round by the end of 2011. It is also crystal clear that it will also not be possible to strike a trade deal during 2012 because one country is going to go through a very long, drawn out election at that time,'' Mr. Khullar said in reference to the Presidential polls in the U.S. next year. India and the U.S. had been at loggerheads with each other at the WTO forum during the long drawn Doha round of talks in the past one decade. India would not be pressured to change its Doha agenda at any cost, Mr. Khullar said. The WTO negotiations have seen numerous deadlines come and go and new deadlines being set for conclusion of talks without any tangible progress or results. There has been a strong disagreement over rich-country farm subsidies and access to developing-country markets for manufactured goods. “For two years, the U.S. has not allowed the talks to go on. What you are seeing today is people jostling for position to determine what the agenda will be,'' he added.

Washington is demanding that major emerging economies like China, India and Brazil should make generous offers that reflect their tremendous growth in exports over the past decade.

Meanwhile, Mr. Khullar advised exporters to cash their dollar earnings without being greedy.

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