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``India has vital role in Doha round''

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PREMIER PARLEYS: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has a word with his Finland counterpart Matti Vanhanen at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Monday.
PREMIER PARLEYS: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has a word with his Finland counterpart Matti Vanhanen at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Monday.

Special Correspondent

Finnish Prime Minister stresses on reciprocal liberalisation

India to benefit from Finland taking over EU presidency India committed to WTO: Kamal Nath

NEW DELHI: Finland on Monday said India would play a major role in the successful completion of the Doha round of negotiations in the WTO, even as it underlined the need for fast-growing economies, including China and Brazil, to engage in "reciprocal liberalisation".

"WTO negotiations would help countries progressively open their markets to competition for the benefit of all. India has a vital role to play in the Doha Development Round," visiting Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said at a business conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and other apex industry chambers.

Global economy

Asserting that a successful Doha round would augur well for the global economy and produce tremendous benefits for the developing countries, he said, "Big, fast-growing economies like India, Brazil and China need to engage in reciprocal liberalisation and significant commitments within the WTO."

Orderly world trade

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath reiterated that India is committed to WTO and rules must prevail for an orderly world trade.

Mr. Nath, who had just returned from the G5 meeting in London, said the meaning of agriculture and its significance was very different in the United States and U.K. from what it is was India.

The first Finnish Prime Minister to visit India after 45 years, Mr. Vanhanen said Finland's taking over the rotating presidency of the European Union in the second half of this year would be beneficial for India.

"This means [Finland's presidency of the EU] that we will be a driving force in the development of international policy, including trade policy. This is of great interest to India as well," he said.

Focus of the world

"India has become the focus of the world today. It has many strengths, being the largest democracy and an enormous market with a large educated work force," he said. Since India and the European Union had common challenges ahead, he expressed the hope that the forthcoming EU-India Business Summit to be held in Helsinki in October 2006 would provide an opportunity to forge better ties between the two entities.

A good example

Referring to the setting up of the Nokia handsets manufacturing unit in Chennai recently, Mr. Vanhanen stated that this was a very good example of the India-Finnish ICT cluster.

He said Finland's GDP had risen above the EU average in the last decade after efforts were made to resurrect the economy.

The ICT sector, engineering industry and forestry sector led the Finnish economy, he said, and added that India and China could be major consumers of paper in the years to come.

Mr. Vanhanen urged India to do away with barriers as soon as possible and said "barriers create inefficiency in the economic system at all levels."


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