Argentina Current Affairs

G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting held in Salta, Argentina

The G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting was held in Salta, Argentina from 23 to 24 August, 2018. It took place as part of Sherpa Track for 2018 G20 Leaders’ Summit, which is to be hosted by Argentina by end of 2018. The theme of the meeting was ‘Building consensus for fair and sustainable development‘. Its three key issues for the agenda were future of work, infrastructure for development, and sustainable food future. It concluded with adaptation of declaration that reflects G20’s commitment towards promoting policies and actions that catalyze digital transformations.

Key Facts

The meeting was attended by 33 heads of delegation- ministers, senior officials and representatives from invited countries and international organizations like EU, UNCTAD, ITU etc. India was represented by Union Minister for Electronics and IT & Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The participating delegates deliberated upon efforts to create conditions that help governments, private sector and civil society maximize benefits and confront challenges posed by technological progress. The other focus areas which were also deliberated included digital inclusion in particular gender divide, digital government, digital infrastructure and measuring digital economy.

Participating G20 member nations agreed to promote policies that will contribute to bridging all forms of digital divide with special attention to digital gender divide. They also agreed to promote digital government and digital infrastructure, strengthen digital skills of workforce, deepen analysis towards digital economy measurement and to share experiences and lesson learned.

G20

Group of Twenty (G20) is premier forum for international economic cooperation and decision-making. It is a forum for governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies to focus on economic issues and other important development challenges.

The G20 comprises of total 19 countries plus European Union (EU), representing 85% of global GDP, 80% of international trade, 65% of world’s population. Its members include Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, India, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, UK, US and EU.

It was started in 1999 as meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in the aftermath of the South-east Asian (Tiger economies) financial crisis. It was established for studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.

In 2008, the first G20 Leaders’ Summit was held in Washington DC, US. Prior to this, it was merely forum for meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. The group has played key role in responding to the global financial crisis.

Month: Categories: International Current Affairs 2018

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India opposes Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade

119 of 164 members of World Trade Organisation (WTO) have backed Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade at 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade is non-binding declaration that sought women’s economic empowerment by speedily removing barriers to their participation in trade. ‎India voted against declaration.

Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade

The declaration provides framework for members of trade body to adopt “gender-responsive” trade policies. Under it, ‎WTO will further identify of barriers that limit women’s participation in trade, financial inclusion as well as access to trade financing. It also calls for enhancement of women entrepreneurs’ participation in public procurement markets, and the inclusion of women-led businesses, in particular MSMEs, in value chains.

The declaration will also lead to inclusion of ‘gender equality’ in services trade negotiations agenda under Domestic Regulation discipline (one of major areas of services negotiations under GATS). Moreover, actions outlined in Declaration will provide more and better paid jobs for women.

India opposition

India held that it strongly supports gender equality and is very much in favour of promoting gender issues but it cannot concur with view that gender is trade-related issue. ‎WTO is purely trade-related body and not a forum to discuss gender, so gender-related discussions should take place at appropriate fora.

It also held that developed countries have high standard in gender-related policies as compared to developing or least developed countries (LDC). ‎Hence the proposition to link gender and trade agreed then developed nations will curb exports from developing world using ‘gender’ issues as non-trade barrier.

Moreover, it will also indirectly restrict developing countries from incentivising their women citizens as part of measures to address developmental challenges. It will be used same as ‘Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS)’ measures which is being used by developed nations against LDCs and developing countries. It will also set precedent to bring in other non-trade issues such as environment and labour standards into the WTO’s ambit.

Background

The 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) was held from 10 to 13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. ‎The Ministerial Conference is ighest decision-making body of the WTO and meets at least once every two years. The MC11 ended with number of small ministerial decisions, including Ministerial Decision on Fisheries Subsidies, Work Programme on e-commerce, TRIPS non-violation and situation complaints, Work Programme on Small Economies etc. and creation of working party on accession for South Sudan

Overall, the meeting ended in stalemate, with countries divided along industrial and developing lines. For India it was partial success. India’s push to ensure consensus around a ‘permanent solution’ to the public stockholding of food for food security purposes was thwarted by the US.

Month: Categories: International Current Affairs 2018

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