New Delhi will host the first major global trade negotiations since such talks collapsed in Geneva in July 2008, partly because India and the US clashed over how far poor countries should go to protect the livelihoods of their poorest farmers.
Much has happened since then. A financial and economic crisis of unparalleled severity has resulted in the collapse of global trade. The US has a new president who has been so distracted by problems at home that he is yet to appoint a trade negotiator. India had an election in which voters returned the same government to power; but we have in Anand Sharma a new trade minister who is expected to be less inflexible than his predecessor Kamal Nath.
Trade negotiations always involve complex trade-offs between defending an open global trading regime and protecting national interest. But there is no doubt that the world needs a new trade deal that will raise productivity and incomes. The New Delhi meetings should hopefully get negotiations back on track.