Finally the World Listens To India…

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July 25 – As India's trade and bargaining power rises globally, Indian politicians are learning how to stand up for the 1.2 billion Indians that are just begining to see the effects of globalization.

Recently at the Doha Round of free trade talks in Geneva, Kamal Nath, India's Commerce minister, is believed to have disagreed with the U.S and E.U on all accounts of trade subsidies in favour of the rich develped nations – The Wall Street Journal said of this:

The result on Wednesday was a 12-hour session that EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson called "some of the most difficult and confrontational negotiations" of his four-year term. The reason, according to European, U.S. and Brazilian officials: Mr. Nath. "He just sat there and said 'No' for 12 straight hours," a trade official said. Kamal Nath was part of the seven negotiaters chosen from 30 WTO delegates, the other negotiaters were – the U.S., the European Union, China, Brazil, Australia and Japan.

The American business daily continues to praise Mr Nath's growing importance in global economics – "Success or failure of the Doha Round may very well lie in the hands of Kamal Nath alone," said Christopher Wenk, a director of policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who is in Geneva.

Much of the 61-year-old veteran Indian politician's influence at the WTO lies in the promise of his country's economy. India's total imports have grown to US$217 billion from US$57 billion since the Doha Round began in 2001. The EU and U.S. business community says that in a slowing global economy, it needs access to India's growing market of a billion consumers.

The other reason for Mr. Nath's prominence is diplomatic. India recently joined the informal quartet of countries, with the United States, the EU and Brazil, that lead trade negotiations. Previously, the United States, the EU, Japan and Canada led discussions.

Mr. Nath is the only member of the four leading trade powers who belongs to both key groupings of developing countries: the so-called G-20 group of emerging economies, like South Africa, Argentina and Brazil, and the G-33, made up of developing nations seeking to protect their agricultural markets, including South Korea and Senegal.

On Monday, the EU improved its offer on agriculture tariff cuts to 60% from 54%. The next day, the U.S. said it would cap trade-distorting farm subsidies at $15 billion instead of $16.4 billion. Mr. Nath and Brazil's foreign minister, Celso Amorim, however, said the U.S. and Europe need to do more to fulfill the promise of alleviating global poverty that they made when they opened the Doha Round after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.