Commerce ministry to hold inter-ministerial consultations on May 18

NEW DELHI: The commerce ministry has convened an inter-ministerial meeting on May 18 to hold consultations on issues that are likely to figure prominently in the forthcoming meeting of the highest decision-making body of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva next month, an official said.

The 12th ministerial conference of the WTO is scheduled from June 12-15 in Geneva. The 164-member multilateral body frames global trade rules and adjudicates trade disputes among member nations.

Issues which are expected to figure in the meeting includes a proposed agreement on fisheries subsidies; agriculture; digital trade or e-commerce; WTO’s response to pandemic including TRIPS (trade related aspects of intellectual property rights) waiver; Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) matters like trade and gender, trade and MSME; reforms in the WTO like appellate body crisis, special and differential treatment.

JSI is a negotiating method started by a certain group of WTO member countries on some specific issues without following the rule of consensus decision-making, which involves all the members of the WTO.

Members are negotiating a proposed fisheries subsidies agreement. The objective is to discipline subsidies for sustainable fishing, eliminate IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) fishing subsidies and prohibit them from contributing to overcapacity and overfishing.

The official said that secretaries from different departments, including agriculture, environment, consumer affairs, animal husbandry, fisheries, women and child development, MSME, electronics and IT, and pharmaceuticals are expected to participate in the day-long deliberations.

Representatives from different bodies such as Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), RIS, NCAER, ICRIER and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences are also invited for the consultations.

“This will be a consultation meeting on WTO issues in preparation for the 12th ministerial conference,” the official added.

Source: Press Trust of India

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