India, SA to hold talks on Doha round

Informal talks between a “rainbow of ministers” would take place to reignite the Doha trade talks, Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said on Monday.

“We have taken the initiative and ministers reflective or representative of a rainbow of countries ... will meet in Delhi on September 3 and 4,” Sharma said after talks held with South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies in Johannesburg.

“The objective is to look at the process, to re-engage and re-energise the process which has been stalled for a long time,” he said.

The Doha Development Round is a trade-negotiation round of the World Trade Organisation which started in November 2001, but talks stalled in 2008. Its objective is to lower trade barriers around the world to allow countries to increase trade globally.

Davies said his Indian counterpart had briefed South Africa on the “very important initiative” during talks between the countries on Monday.

“We definitely will be participating in that process.

“We believe that a successful outcome to the Doha round has got to be one that is faithful to the developmental mandate,” Davies said.

Davies and Sharma met to discuss economic relations between South Africa and India and to improve trade relations between the two countries. While trade had tripled between the two economies from 2003 to 2007, Davies said more could be done.

Sharma indicated that Monday’s talks were the first substantive engagement between the two governments after elections were held in both countries.

He added that a target had been set to increase trade between India and South Africa to R12-billion by 2010.

“We hope that given the potential and opportunities in both countries it will expand even further,” he said.

The meeting also served to “re-renergise” the India-South Africa CEOs Forum. Chief executives from both countries committed to have formal meetings twice a year, once in India and once in South Africa.

South Africa was represented by members of Business Unity SA in the CEOs forum.—Sapa