Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Ministerial meeting of WTO begins in New Delhi

Ministerial meeting of WTO begins in New Delhi

In the absence of Ministerial guidance at the Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC 11) that took place in December past year in Buenos Aires, it is hoped that the meeting in New Delhi will provide an opportunity for ministers to explore in greater detail options on different issues for re-invigorating the WTO.

Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu welcomed Directorate General of WTO Roberto Azevedo, and ministers and delegates from around 50 countries to New Delhi for attending the Informal WTO Ministerial Meeting on 19-20 March.

After the failure of the full-fledged Ministerial Meeting in Buenos Aires in December 2017 in delivering concrete results, India is hopeful that the informal meet in New Delhi will succeed in identifying ways in which the global trade talks could be re-vitalised. This has lead to a delay in dispute settlement.

"The tenor of the whole green room meeting is after giving up on Doha (negotiations) and "development", it is time to give up on the binding dispute settlement system, as demanded by the United States", said a trade envoy from an industrialized country, who asked not to be identified. The statement by India's Ministry of Commerce & Industry comes against the backdrop of trade measures taken by US President Donald Trump against India and China last week. While the informal ministerial meeting has been organised by the government to break the impasse in global trade talks, a breakthrough is unlikely given that the three trade giants - the U.S., the European Union and China - are not represented by their trade chiefs and have instead sent the second in command, indicating the importance that they attach. We have very significant challenges before us.

Mohammed Shami's Pak friend Alishba denies money transaction
Alishba , reportedly, had also gone to watch the India-Pakistan final in which Shami also had a heated spat with a fan. I had the desire to meet him ( Shami ) like any other fan would want to, which I don't think is a big deal".

Mr. Azevedo added that the trade environment globally was very risky at the moment and that the WTO was facing challenges from both within and outside.

Although the meeting does not have a fixed agenda, it assumes significance against the backdrop of increase in duties on steel and aluminum by the United States administration, and Washington dragging India to the WTO against export incentive programmes.

The US trade representative, ambassador Robert Lighthizer, had said unambiguously that Washington wants to go back to the old GATT practice of negotiating rulings. "We have the dispute settlement system which is compromised by a blockage in the appointment of appellate body members", Azevedo said without directly referring to the US.

Like this: