WASHINGTON (Reuters) -India, Brazil and other large developing countries “need to step up” in world trade talks and make the market-opening concessions needed to reach a deal, a top U.S. official said on Wednesday.
“In our view, India can do more,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said in a speech to the U.S.-India Business Council less than a week after a failed meeting between United States, India, Brazil and the European Union triggered a new crisis in the nearly six-year-old world trade talks.
Gutierrez also urged India to open its market to U.S. wheat and further reduce tariffs on manufactured goods.
“The only major country where American farmers can not export wheat to is India … Ultimately, we believe Indian consumers pay the price. This year, the Indian government will pay tens of millions of dollars more because of these barriers to American wheat,” Gutierrez said.
India Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, who was to speak to the same group later on Wednesday, frequently cites India’s 600 million subsistence farmers as a major reason why India can’t offer substantial new agricultural market openings in the Doha round of world trade negotiations.
U.S. officials say large developing countries need to provide some market openings, both in agriculture and the manufacturing sector, in order to create support in the U.S. Congress for U.S. farm subsidy cuts as part of a WTO deal.
“We are willing to make difficult choices, but we have a shared responsibility to make the round a success and in our view, India can do more,” Gutierrez said. “Large developing countries like India and Brazil, we believe need to step up.”
The meeting last week in Potsdam, Germany failed because “some WTO members continue to be unwilling to show needed flexibility for even a minimal amount of additional market access,” Gutierrez said.
Nath was to meet privately with U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab on Wednesday. Schwab also is giving a speech to the U.S.-India Business Council on Wednesday.