Mango ice-breaker for trade talks

Miranda Kennedy Apr 11, 2007
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Mango ice-breaker for trade talks

Miranda Kennedy Apr 11, 2007
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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Today the U.S., India, the European Union and Brazil begin meetings in New Delhi aimed at saving talks on global trade. This will be the first gathering of trade ministers from the G-4 nations since the Doha talks collapsed last July. That’s when Washington refused to give ground on cutting subsidies for farmers. The stakes are high because the President’s trade promotion authority will expire at the end of June. But U.S. trade rep Susan Schwab is returning to the table with a mango ice-breaker. Miranda Kennedy reports.


MIRANDA KENNEDY: India is one of the world’s largest producers of mangoes. Until now, they’ve all been eaten domestically.

For years, the U.S. has refused to import them because they didn’t meet sanitary conditions.

Last year, President Bush promised to change that. And now, the U.S. is sharing the costs of irradiating the fruits to rid them of pests.

Assistant trade representative Doug Hartwick says the movement on mangoes is an important first.

DOUG HARTWICK: As India has increasingly awakened to the opportunities in international trade just in agriculture — it exports actually precious little in agriculture — but increasingly, there are areas that the Indian merchants are beginning to realize they actually can be competitive.

By allowing mangoes to be imported, the U.S. is giving India what it wants: greater access to the American market.

For its part, India recently relaxed its import duties to allow Harley Davidson to sell motorcycles here.

In Mumbai, I’m Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.

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