Thursday 27 October 2016

Kerry Meets Jaitley, Discusses WTO Impasse

New Delhi

US Secretary of State John Kerry today met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and discussed India's stance on the ongoing WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement talks which are set to conclude at Geneva later in the day.

Kerry was accompanied by US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker who has already expressed disappointment over India's stand at the ongoing TFA negotiations for easing customs rule for free movement of goods.

"We had a good discussion. India is a big market. We also had discussion on issues related to WTO," an official privy to the meeting said.

India has been maintaining that it will not ratify the TFA, which is dear to the developed world, until a permanent solution is found on the issue of public stock holding for food security purposes.

TFA, which aims at simplifying customs procedure, increasing transparency and reducing transactions cost, is being pushed by the US and others as they seek to bolster their sagging economies through an unhindered international trade by way of a uniform and easy procedures at customs.

India is seeking a guarantee on food security for its hundreds of millions of poor as a pre-condition for the passage of the pact.

The agreement, drafted during a ministerial summit at the Indonesian resort town of Bali last December, has to be sealed by July 31.

Yesterday, Pritzker said she was "hopeful that even in the last remaining days India might find a way to come to a solution on this issue".

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