The Ministry of Commerce and Industries is arranging a mini-ministerial meeting of developing countries on May 13-14 to discuss the future of the multilateral body, World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the development agenda.
India is expected to invite close to two dozen countries for discussions on May 13-14. It is second such initiative undertaken by India since talks collapsed in Buenos Aires in December 2017. Unlike the earlier initiative, the US and the European Union will not be part of the discussions this time.
Agenda for the Discussion
- A global framework for e-commerce, an issue that is being pushed hard by the US. China is not averse to negotiations and maybe India would be willing for the discussions.
- US proposal to do away with special and differential (S&D) treatment for developing countries such as India, China, Brazil and South Africa. The special and differential treatment allows developing countries to maintain higher duties and implement agreements at a slower pace than the developed world.
- The US is arguing that the better-off developing countries are eating up the gains that should accrue to the poorer nations in the category.
- Ensure that WTO remains the key fulcrum of global trade and attempts by the US to do away with the principle of a consensus-based approach.
- Discussions around reform of the dispute settlement mechanism which the US is pushing for aggressively.
India and other countries are demanding that there was a need to ensure that S&D treatment remains as they are still home to a large number of poor and vulnerable sections.