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India Said Relaxing Trade Curbs

October 16, 1997

GENEVA (AP) _ India and its main trading partners are moving toward an agreement that would end restrictions on a variety of goods imported by the Asian nation, diplomats said Thursday.

The United States told the World Trade Organization that the talks were ``promising,″ but said the body still should set up a panel to resolve the dispute over Indian’s import restrictions in case negotiations break down.

India, however, exercised its right to defer a decision on creating the panel until the WTO meets again next month.

At stake are restrictions on imports of 2,700 industrial, textile and agricultural products.

Srinivasan Narayanan, India’s trade ambassador, told the meeting there is ``a fair chance″ the negotiations will result in a settlement, envoys said.

Other countries that have complained about India’s restrictive import policy include Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the European Union.

The complaints were filed last summer after negotiations to set a schedule for ending the restrictions failed. India had insisted on as many as seven years to scrap the limits.

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