European Union, India Support Including Insurance in World Trade Deal

July 8, 2008

The European Union and India said on Monday they were committed to a world trade deal that takes account of services as well as agriculture and industrial goods.

A joint statement issued after Indian Trade Minister Kamal Nath and EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson held talks in London called for a successful ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization later this month.

“A successful outcome of the Doha Round, balanced across the full range of market access issues in agriculture, industrial goods and services is essential to secure growth in trade and boost the global economy,” the statement said.

It called in particular for substantial engagement by ministers on services that “leads to strong future offers,” endorsing a key concern of European business that developing countries have so far offered little or nothing in terms of improved access for services such as banking and insurance.

EU trade officials say the fate of the WTO talks hinges on the major emerging economies such as India and Brazil making concessions on industrial goods and services that enable the Europeans and the United States to give ground on agriculture.

Mandelson and Nath said a trade deal would further integrate developing countries into the world economy while fully respecting the development objectives of the talks, “including sensitivities in agriculture.”

Trade ministers are due to meet in Geneva from July 21 in what is widely seen as the final attempt to break the deadlock in the seven-year-old negotiations before the end of the current U.S. administration.

(Reporting by Paul Taylor; Editing by Charles Dick)

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