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NEW DELHI, July 31 U.S. Secretary of State John
Kerry said on Thursday that he still hoped for a compromise to
end India's opposition to a global deal that would address its
concerns and help advance trade liberalisation, just hours
before a deadline passed.
New Delhi has insisted that, in exchange for signing a trade
facilitation agreement worked out in Bali last year, it must see
more progress on a parallel pact giving it more freedom to
subsidise and stockpile food grains than is allowed by World
Trade Organization rules.
"We are obviously encouraging our friends in India to try to
find a path here where there is a compromise that meets both
needs, and we think that's achievable. We hope that it's
achievable," Kerry told reporters after talks with Indian
leaders as part of an annual strategic dialogue.
India's new nationalist government has demanded a halt to a
globally agreed timetable on new customs rules and said a
permanent agreement on food stockpiling and subsidies aimed at
supporting the poor must be in place at the same time, well
ahead of a 2017 target set last December in Bali.
"Our feeling obviously is that the agreement that was
reached in Bali is an agreement that, importantly, can provide
for food security for India," Kerry said.
"We do not dismiss the concerns India has about (the) large
number of poor people who require some sort of food assurance,"
Kerry, who was accompanied by Commerce Secretary Penny
Pritzker, held talks with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj
in a bid to revitalise ties that have soured over differences on
trade, climate change and slowing Indian reforms.
He will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday. The
Indian leader, who swept to office in May with the strongest
mandate in 30 years, is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Rajesh Kumar Singh; Writing
by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Mike Collett-White)