US Ag Secretary to Go to India

Mike Johanns will lead a delegation to the country this month to work on an agricultural trading relationship.

Published on: Nov 6, 2006

A U.S. delegation led by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns will go to India this month to discuss the two countries' agricultural trading relationship. Johanns would like to build on ag trading between the two countries.

"We want to build a real cooperative effort with India on ag issues," he says.

Johanns says he's interested in both bilateral trade discussions and cooperation between the two countries to restart World Trade Organization talks. Speaking at Harvard University, WTO director Pascal Lamy highlighted the importance of U.S. and India's roles in restarting the Doha round of trade talks.

"The three big players, the US, EU and India ... haven't found the sort of right balance between the two elements of the negotiations, which is the removal of trade-distorting subsidies and increased market access," he says.

Johanns still says the possibility of restarting trade talks anytime soon is bleak, but will press India to be "flexible" in Doha negotiations.

In bilateral discussions, wheat will be an important topic. India has bought a great deal of wheat this year, but none from the U.S. The USDA and industry officials say this is due to very strict Indian regulation of weed seeds in wheat shipments.

Johanns is scheduled to leave for India Nov. 16 and return Nov. 22.