Buenos Aires Current Affairs - 2019

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India seeks to push reforms at WTO

The Ministry of Commerce and Industries is arranging a mini-ministerial meeting of developing countries on May 13-14 to discuss the future of the multilateral body, World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the development agenda.

India is expected to invite close to two dozen countries for discussions on May 13-14. It is second such initiative undertaken by India since talks collapsed in Buenos Aires in December 2017. Unlike the earlier initiative, the US and the European Union will not be part of the discussions this time.

Agenda for the Discussion

  • A global framework for e-commerce, an issue that is being pushed hard by the US. China is not averse to negotiations and maybe India would be willing for the discussions.
  • US proposal to do away with special and differential (S&D) treatment for developing countries such as India, China, Brazil and South Africa. The special and differential treatment allows developing countries to maintain higher duties and implement agreements at a slower pace than the developed world.
  • The US is arguing that the better-off developing countries are eating up the gains that should accrue to the poorer nations in the category.
  • Ensure that WTO remains the key fulcrum of global trade and attempts by the US to do away with the principle of a consensus-based approach.
  • Discussions around reform of the dispute settlement mechanism which the US is pushing for aggressively.

India and other countries are demanding that there was a need to ensure that S&D treatment remains as they are still home to a large number of poor and vulnerable sections.

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Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2019 by Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit has released the report of the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2019.

Findings of the Survey

  • For the first time in its 30-year history, three cities have been accorded the title of the world’s most expensive city in the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey from The Economist Intelligence Unit.
  • Singapore which top’s of the rankings for the sixth consecutive year is joined there by Hong Kong and Paris.
  • Zurich in Switzerland stood at the fourth position followed by Japan’s Osaka which shared fifth place with Geneva, also in Switzerland.
  • Seoul (South Korea), Copenhagen (Denmark) and New York (US) were jointly placed at the seventh spot.
  • Los Angeles (US) along with Israel’s Tel Aviv was named the 10th most expensive city in the world.
  • The cost of living in Chinese cities remains relatively stable, while Southeast Asian destinations were moving up the ranks.
  • Weaker local currencies have pushed all five Australian and two New Zealand cities surveyed down in the ranking.
  • While parts of Asia remain the most expensive places on Earth, Asian Cities also makes several appearances at the bottom of the list.
  • World’s cheapest cities include Caracas (Venezuela), Damascus (Syria), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Karachi (Pakistan), Lagos (Nigeria), Buenos Aires (Argentina) as well as the three Indian cities of Bengaluru, Chennai and Delhi.

 

The Survey compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services in cities around the world by keeping New York as the benchmark city.

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