With the WTO giving time to the U.S. and India to bridge their differences over the contentious food security issue, the last day of the trade talks here is expected to be longer than usual to avert a collapse of the negotiations.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma was scheduled to return on Friday “but he is not going,” sources said, adding “the last ditch effort to reach on a consensus is expected to go on till late”.
When asked about the possibility of talks getting extended for another day, WTO spokesperson Keith Rockwell said: “The concept of time is flexible in WTO. I think it will be a long day”.
At a late night meeting on Thursday, WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo called an urgent meeting of the trade ministers of the U.S., India and Indonesia to end the impasse and clinch a deal on the 12-year-old Doha round.
During the meeting, which was attended by Mr. Sharma, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman and Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan, the U.S. offered few options to India, which sources said, were not acceptable to New Delhi.
The talks to resolve the issue between the U.S. and India are expected to continue today and also new proposals are likely to be made.
Mr. Sharma, however, had been stressing that India would not compromise on the food security issue. “It is better to have no agreement than to have a bad agreement...” the Minister had said. 12061202