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WTO reform process should not dent basic tenets: India

Jun '19
WTO reform process should not dent basic tenets: India
The World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) reform process should not water down the basic principles of providing special and differential treatment to developing countries and consensus-based decision making, Indian commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal recently told a meeting of G20 trade ministers in Japan. Concerns of all members must be accommodated, he said.

The reform process should start with reviving WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism, by allowing re-nomination of appellate body members at the earliest, Goyal said.

“India believes that the reform process should not undermine the WTO’s fundamental principles, namely, ‘Special and Differential Treatment’ (S&DT), consensus based decision making and objective of development,” a news agency quoted the minister as saying.

Self-declaration of member countries as developing economies to avail S&DT benefits puts the 164-member multilateral body on a path to failed negotiations and it is also a path to institutional irrelevance, India has suggested.

The S&DT allows developing countries to enjoy certain benefits, including taking longer time periods for implementing agreements and binding commitments, and measures to increase trading opportunities. Further, the US has also put roadblocks in appointment of new members in the appellate body of WTO’s dispute settlement system.

The current proposals on WTO reforms do not take into consideration the challenges and aspirations of developing countries, Goyal said. The joint initiatives formed outside WTO with no mandate set an unhealthy trend of influencing rule making within the organisation, he said.

India joins other nations in calling for de-escalating trade tensions and reviving confidence in the rules based multilateral trading system, he said, adding that the rise in protectionist practices is jeopardising free trade and investment. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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