The Commerce Department has convened an inter-ministerial meeting on May 18 to hold consultations on issues likely to feature prominently at the next meeting of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) top policymaking body in Geneva later this month. next, said a mentioned official.
The 12th WTO Ministerial Conference is scheduled for June 12-15 in Geneva. The 164-member multilateral body sets global trade rules and adjudicates trade disputes between member countries.
Issues expected to feature at the meeting include a proposal for a fisheries subsidies agreement; Agriculture; digital commerce or e-commerce; the WTO’s response to the pandemic, including the TRIPS waiver (trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights); Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) issues such as trade and gender, trade and MSMEs; reforms at the WTO such as the crisis of the appellate body, special and differential treatment.
JSI is a negotiation method initiated by a certain group of WTO member countries on specific issues without following the consensus decision-making rule, which involves all WTO members.
Members negotiate a draft agreement on fisheries subsidies. The aim is to discipline subsidies for sustainable fishing, eliminate subsidies for IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and prohibit their contributing to overcapacity and overfishing.
The official said that the secretaries of different departments including agriculture, environment, consumption, animal husbandry, fisheries, women and child development, MSMEs, electronics and IT, and pharmaceuticals are expected to participate in 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 to the consultations.
“It will be a consultation meeting on WTO issues in preparation for the 12th Ministerial Conference,” the official added.
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