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India sees trade as key to prosperity - minister
News From : DagangHalal.com (9/10/2009)

NEW DELHI, Sept 4 - India sees increased trade with the rest of the world as the key to prosperity and wants to at least double its share of global trade flows, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said on Friday.

Sharma dismissed the idea of blocking imports to protect Indian industries, saying that would run counter to its ambitions to expand on the global market.

"Trade is a two-way process. You can't do one-way trade," he told a news conference. "If you want to go into other markets you cannot put barriers into your markets."

Sharma was speaking after a meeting of trade ministers hosted by India agreed to resume and intensify the World Trade Organisation's stalled Doha round to open up world trade.

The Doha round was launched in late 2001 to help developing countries prosper through more trade, not least by removing imbalances in the global trading system that favour rich countries.

But the talks have stumbled repeatedly over differences between rich and poor countries about how much they should open up their respective markets.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk repeated on Friday Washington's view that big emerging countries like India, Brazil and China should do more to open their markets.

The emerging countries have long argued that such calls run counter to the Doha round's development mandate and say they should be allowed to shelter fledgling industries from the full force of competition to allow them to grow.

A round of talks in July last year collapsed partly over the insistence of India and other countries on tough conditions for a proposed safeguard allowing developing countries to block food imports to shield poor farmers from a flood of imports.

Sharma, who took office earlier this year, has argued that a Doha deal must respect the needs of developing countries including India.

But he also said on Friday that India must become a major player in global commerce, calling on Indian industries and exporters to take up the challenge.

"India's share of global trade is less than 2 percent. We would like to double it and beyond," he said. "That would create prosperity that would strengthen our industry, that would create employment."

Sharma launched a new trade policy last week that aims to boost exports to $200 billion in the next two years by cutting transaction costs for exporters and improving the availability of dollar trade finance.

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