What is WTO Ministerial Conference?
The WTO Ministerial Conference is the topmost decision-making body of the World Trade Organization which regularly convenes every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.
The conference has key issues to discuss viz. Trade facilitation, Agriculture negotiations, Cotton Least-developed countries Monitoring mechanism, Small and vulnerable economies, Yemen’s accession, E-commerce “Non-violation” in intellectual property, etc.
What was India’s stand at the Bali Ministerial of the World Trade Organisation 2013 ?
India decided not to agree to the ‘Peace Clause’ for agriculture subsidies that the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo has proposed for Bali talks.
Here, India stands to seek safeguards for subsidies given to the farmers for food security purposes by poor countries. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said that for India, food security is non-negotiable, it is an integral part of the millennium development goals and the need for public stockholding of food grains to ensure food security must be respected, and for this WTO rules must be updated.
For this valuable cause, India got support from many WTO members like South Africa, Nepal, Egypt, Uganda, Namibia, Argentina, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Venezuela, Mauritius and Nicaragua, etc.
What is the Peace Clause under current context and why an issue over this Peace Clause?
Under this ‘Peace Clause’, developing countries can provide WTO-prohibited subsidies to farmers without inviting any dispute under the Agreement on Agriculture, developed countries will have the right to drag these countries to the WTO Disputes Settlement Body, under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. This would render the peace clause null-and-void.
Note : Developed countries pressurizing India to accept a peace clause, which offers four years of immunity against penalties imposed for breaching the farm subsidy cap of 10 per cent under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA).
Outcome of the 9th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Because of India’s concern of Food security, WTO’s Bali Ministerial Conference revised draft decisions on a package of issues designed to streamline trade, allow developing countries more options for providing food security, boost least developed countries’ trade and help development more generally.
Other Related Article(s):
UN confirmed that it has received documents from Syria on joining the Chemical Weapons Convention.
- The convention requires all parties to declare and destroy all of the chemical weapons they possess.
- Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has the job is to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty which came into force in 1997 and which requires all member nations to eliminate their chemical weapons stocks and related facilities.
- The Norwegian Nobel Committee recently awarded the OPCW the Nobel Peace Prize 2013 for “its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.
- OPCW was created in 1997.
- OPCW is based in The Hague, Netherlands
- Full name of the treaty: “The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction“
- The treaty entered into force in 1997.
- Syria is the 190th country to join the convention.
- Only 6 UN states have yet to sign the international treaty, they are: Angola, Burma, Egypt, Israel, North Korea and South Sudan.
India has been re-elected to the new Council of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as one of the states making the largest contribution in facilitating global air navigation. The elections were held at the 38th session of the Assembly of ICAO in Montreal.
What is ICAO?
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)
Estblished: 1944, as a specialized agency of the United Nations to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world.
Functions: It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, apart from serving as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 191 member states.
Term of the Council: 3 years
No. of Member: 36 members
Categories: 3 categories.
The Structure of present Council is as follows:
- PART I – (States of chief importance in air transport) – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States. All of them have been re-elected.
- PART II – (States which make the largest contribution to the provision of facilities for international civil air navigation) – Argentina, Egypt, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain and Venezuela. Except Norway, Portugal and Venezuela, all others have been re-elected.
- PART III– (States ensuring geographic representation)- Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Poland, Republic of Korea, United Arab Emirates and United Republic of Tanzania. Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Libya, Nicaragua, Poland and United Republic of Tanzania have been elected for the first time.
Iraq ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a treaty which provides for nuclear disarmament and bans nuclear weapons explosions at any place under the jurisdiction or control of the signatory. However, CTBT cannot enter into force until eight specific nations don’t ratify it.
What is CTBT?
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is an international accord which seeks to ban all nuclear explosions in all environments for military or civilian purposes. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on September 10, 1996, but it has not entered into force due to the non-ratification of eight specific states.
What is required for the CTBT to come into force?
There is a list of 44 states in Annex 2 of the CTBT. These “Annex 2 states” are states that participated in the CTBT’s negotiations between 1994 and 1996 and possessed nuclear power reactors or research reactors at that time. The treaty has to be ratified by these states. The treaty has been ratified only by 36 states including France, Russia and Britain.
Which are the eight States who have not signed/ratified CTBT?
These nations are China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States who have signed but not ratified the Treaty and India, North Korea and Pakistan who have not signed it.
What is the status of CTBT in the Middle East?
In the Middle East, Egypt, Israel, Iran, and Yemen have not yet ratified the CTBT, while Saudi Arabia and Syria remain outside as non-signatories. Efforts to create a zone in the Middle East free of nuclear weapons have failed to make progress, with a hoped-for meeting in late 2012 failing to take place.