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US presses India on WTO deal

US presses India on WTO deal
Highlights

US presses India on WTO deal, US Secretary of State John Kerry told Narendra Modi that India\'s stance on a key WTO trade deal sent the wrong message, as he met the country\'s new prime minister for the first time on Friday.

  • Says refusal to sign trade pact sends wrong signal
  • Even warns that it will undermine India’s image

New Delhi: US Secretary of State John Kerry told Narendra Modi that India's stance on a key WTO trade deal sent the wrong message, as he met the country's new prime minister for the first time on Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting  in New Delhi on Friday. India's refusal on WTO deal is a wrong signal, Kerry reportedly told Modi

Kerry has expressed optimism about expanding cooperation between the world's two largest democracies during a first visit aimed at reviving a relationship clouded by mistrust. But a raft of disputes has cast a shadow over hopes for a warmer relationship, with India on Thursday blocking a major World Trade Organization pact on customs procedures.

During the meeting -- aimed at breaking the ice with a leader once shunned by Washington -- Kerry told Modi India's stance on the deal was at odds with his desire to open up the country's economy.

"We note that the prime minister is very focused on his signal of open to business and creating opportunities and therefore the failure of implementing TFA (Trade Facilitation Agreement) sends a confusing signal and undermines that very message that he is seeking to send about India," a US official quoted Kerry as saying.

"While we understand India's food security concerns, the trade facilitation agreement is one that will bring tremendous benefit, particularly to the world's poor. India's actions therefore are not in keeping with the prime minister's vision."

On Thursday, the WTO said that the 160-member body had failed to approve a landmark pact that would streamline global customs procedures. India had stalled the pact as it pushed for the WTO to give the green light on the developing power's stockpiling of subsidised food.

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