Brisbane: The resolution of a row between India and the US over food subsidies was today hailed as a “win-win” situation by leading industrialised countries — Japan, the EU and the UK — who expressed confidence that a landmark global trade pact stalled for months can now move forward.
The recent breakthrough in the trade facilitation agreement figured prominently at the three separate bilateral meetings Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with his British and Japanese counterparts — David Cameron and Shinzo Abe and European Commission president Herman Von Rompuy.
It was Modi’s first meeting with Cameron while Abe hosted a dinner for the Indian Prime Minister in their second interaction in three months.
Separately, World Trade Organisation (WTO) Secretary-General Roberto Azevedo said the recent developments including the breakthrough by India and the US has breathed new life into the global organisation.
“All the three leaders congratulated the PM and extended their support when the matter comes up before the WTO. They also said all the countries can now move together,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said while briefing reporters on how the breakthrough found its resonance at the bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the G20 Summit starting here tomorrow.
The whole world is looking at the “win-win” deal arrived at between India and the US, he said.
The bilateral meetings took place shortly after Modi arrived here on a five-day visit to Australia, the first in 28 years by an Indian Prime Minister after Rajiv Gandhi visited this country in 1986.
The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has been stalled since July, when India refused to endorse it unless its food stockpiles were exempted from possible punitive measures, prompting the US to accuse it of taking the WTO “to the brink of crisis”.
The new deal has raised expectations that the Bali package would be implemented soon.
Modi’s call on Wednesday at the East Asia summit in Myanmar to the world community to reject any linkage between religion and terrorism while forging an international partnership in giving a comprehensive response to fight all forms of terrorism, was also endorsed by the leaders of Japan, Britain and the EU.
Another common thread in the three meetings was the move by the Indian government to modernise railways.
Modi told the three leaders that his government was determined to modernise railway stations and amenities besides giving a push to the planned Bullet train linking Mumbai and Ahmedabad.