Congressman to introduce India trade legislation

Reuters | 2 December 2007

Congressman to introduce India trade legislation

NEW DELHI (Reuters) — A U.S. congressman said on Sunday he planned to introduce legislation calling for the United States to begin talks with India on a free trade agreement.

Rep. David Dreier, a California Republican, said at the World Economic Forum India summit such a move would be a building block towards the success of the Doha Round of global trade talks or the next World Trade Organisation (WTO) round.

"I’m going to introduce legislation calling for the beginnings of negotiations between the United States of America and India for a free trade agreement," Dreier said.

"It will in large part be a discussion piece for us to just begin talking about this," he told Reuters after making the announcement to hundreds of delegates at a dinnertime question and answer session with Indian Trade Minister Kamal Nath.

"I don’t want to lead anyone to believe this is going to happen overnight or happen quickly. But the notion of discussing the idea of a U.S.-India FTA I think is important," Dreier said.

Nath told Reuters afterwards the idea had come up before and it should be examined.

Asked if he would welcome such legislation, Nath said: "Well we’ll have to study it, we’ll have to work towards it. There is no one-size-fits-all model of a trade agreement."

The Doha round of trade talks was launched six years ago to boost the world economy and help poor countries export their way out of poverty. The talks have missed deadlines and WTO members agreed on Friday to aim to finish negotiations next year.

(Reporting by Charlotte Cooper; Editing by Stephen Weeks)

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