WTO ministerial begins in New Delhi

Delegations from Developing and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are meeting in New Delhi over two days to discuss key issues and challenges facing the multilateral trading system

May 13, 2019

India has been at the forefront of efforts to bring improved unity at global trading platforms, and the ministerial comes as part of that effort

Commerce Secretary AnupWadhawan said that challenges to the multilateral rules based trading system are manifesting unilateral measures

The fundamentals of global trade are being tested with a tide of protectionism around the world vitiating the global economic environment

India believes that developing countries need to work together to protect their interests in WTO talks by preserving the body’s core principles

Delegations of senior officials from Developing and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are meeting for a WTO Ministerial in New Delhi over two days to discuss key issues and challenges facing the multilateral trading system. Speaking at the inaugural session, Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said that the existential challenges to the multilateral rules-based trading system are manifesting a spate of unilateral measures and countermeasures, deadlock in key areas of negotiations and the impasse in the Appellate Body. This logjam is a threat to the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO and the implementation function of the organisation. India has been at the forefront of efforts to bring improved unity at global trading platforms, and the ministerial comes as part of that effort.

The fundamentals of global trading systems are also being tested through a tide of protectionism around the world vitiating the global economic environment. This situation does not bode well for developing countries, including the LDCs. This has spurred strong discourse for reforming the WTO. The discussions in the meeting being held in New Delhi will give a chance to reaffirm the resolve to keep development at the centre of the reform agenda. Reform initiatives must promote inclusiveness and non-discrimination, build trust and address the inequalities and glaring asymmetries in existing agreements that are against the developing nations. Herein, the WTO ministerial will work together to put issues of importance for developing countries and their priorities in the new reform agenda.

India believes that developing countries need to work together to protect their interests in the WTO talks through preservation of the core fundamental principles of the WTO. The meet will give an opportunity to the participating countries of the developing world a shared WTO reform proposal on issues of priority and interest for developing countries. This will help in building a common narrative on issues of importance for developing countries, including the LDCs.

In two-day meeting following issues are likely to be discussed:

  • Finding a solution to the ongoing impasse at the Appellate Body on an urgent basis.
  • Importance and priority for developing countries including LDCs in reform agenda.
  • Reinvigorating negotiation on issues of critical importance for developing countries.
  • How to ensure effective S&D for all developing countries including LDCs?

The two-day meeting is an effective move by developing countries to influence the outcome of WTO reforms by bringing development at its core and exploring all means of saving multilateralism.