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Press Release on the Visit of Commerce & Industry Minister, Mr. Kamal Nath to Washington, DC, June 11-12, 2008

Washington, DC 
June 12, 2008

Commerce & Industry Minister, Mr. Kamal Nath had a meeting with US Trade Representative Ambassador Susan C. Schwab today. Their discussions focused on how to move the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) forward. They agreed that every effort should be made to conclude the Doha Round as expeditiously as possible. To this end, senior officials of the two countries would intensify their engagement at Geneva over the coming weeks to narrow the differences and to build on convergences.

Minister Nath was interviewed by well-known TV personality Charlie Rose at the 33rd Anniversary Global Partnership Summit of the US India Business Council on the theme of “India in the 21st century – Partner in Free-Market Democracy”. Speaking to the 600-strong audience, which included CEOs of leading US and Indian companies and representatives of the Government and media, Minister Nath said that fundamentals of Indian economy were strong and a real growth momentum had built up over the last few years. Above all, it was India’s intellectual and entrepreneurial skills that explained its unprecedented economic growth. Moreover, its democratic structure assured the sustainability of this trend. 

In response to a question about the basis of India-US partnership, the Minister said that its strength derived from the convergence based on shared values, similar ways of doing business and robust institutions like vibrant stock exchanges. 

Speaking of the exponential growth in bilateral trade and investment, the Minister pointed out that over the last year India had invested more in US than US had in India. Moreover, US exports to India had grown by 75% making it the fastest growing export destination for US. This was possible only because India had a healthy economy and its continued health and growth meant further opportunities and markets for US. The rapidly increasing two-way investment, he said, was a testimony of the growing mutual confidence of the business communities in both countries. 

In answer to a question about the Doha Development Round, the Minister reiterated that a rule-based multilateral system was as critical to India as it was to US, given India’s growing engagement with the world. He expressed optimism about the completion of the Round, adding that it would be critical to respect and harmonise sensitivities of different countries. “No one will get everything they want, but no one will give away everything”, he said. 

Speaking of the India-US Civil Nuclear Cooperation, the Minister said that this was basically an energy agreement, which would help India’s energy security while recognizing India’s responsibility record of non-proliferation.

Last night, at a dinner hosted by Ambassador Ronen Sen, Minister Nath met with US Secretary of Agriculture Mr. Ed Schafer, US Commerce Secretary Mr. Carlos M. Gutierrez, USTR Ambassador Susan Schwab, Ambassador Rob Portman, former USTR, and Director OMB at the White House, Congressman Gary Ackerman, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia and Congressman Jim McDermott, Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.
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