New Delhi: India is open to joining the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), while the final decision on its joining will be taken by the group of 21 Pacific Rim nations in their meeting at Lima (Peru) in November, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday.
“There are efforts underway to make India a part of APEC. We are open to joining the forum,” Jaitley said at the Growth Net conference here.
“I won’t make a final comment on this till the government takes a positive decision on this but all I can say is that its important way station and I hope we halt in the direction of that way station,” he said.
“I would see India being open to the idea and therefore between now and November, I think is the crucial period to negotiate the step that you have in mind,” he added.
Jaitley’s observations follow last month’s introduction of a bill in the US Congress by lawmakers who said that allowing India to join APEC will help America’s strategic goals in Asia.
Members of the Singapore-based APEC include Australia, Japan, China, Russia, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, among others.
Referring to the World Trade Organisations’s Doha Development Round (DDR), Jaitley said India stands for multilateralism and favours the logical conclusion of the trade negotiations.
“Whether the DDR is over, should be abandoned or it should be continued, India has a strong position that it should be continued and be taken to its logical conclusion,” he said.
However, he also said that over the last decade, the developed world has started losing interest in the DDR.
“At the same time, various other tie-ups which are taking place, depending on what our interest is, I think we are fairly open to them. And you can’t claim to be one of the fastest growing economies of the world and then not think of trade as a win-win option,” he said.
The Doha Round of negotiations, launched in 2001, have remained stalled since July 2008 due to differences between the developed and the developing countries mainly on the level of protection for farmers in poorer nations.