Global Trade Current Affairs

India to host informal WTO Ministerial gathering in March 2018

India has announced to host informal Ministerial meeting of World Trade Organisation (WTO) in March 2018 in New Delhi to muster support for issues and also help to multi-lateral process.

It was announced by Deepak Jagdish Saksena, India’s ambassador and permanent representative to WTO during informal WTO ministerial gathering at Davos on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual summit.

Key Facts

About 40 WTO members from both rich and developing nations are being called by India for this informal meeting to “revitalise” the multi-lateral trade body. The objective of meeting is to discuss ways to revitalise WTO to ensure predictable and transparent system of rule-making in the area of international trade.

The meeting will be taking place after collapse of the WTO 11th Ministerial Conference (MC 11) held in Buenos Aires in December 2017. It will be held in backdrop of rich nations forming groupings to prepare ground for pushing new issues such as investment facilitation, preparing rules for e-commerce, promoting gender equality, reducing subsidy on fisheries, unreported and unregulated fishing


India has been keenly pushing agriculture issues including permanent solution on public stockholding issue for food security at WTO Ministerial Conferences. It has also been raising its voice against bringing new issues proposed by developed countries, especially those which are not directly linked to trade.

India had expressed its disappointment over US’s refusal to agree on public stockholding issue at recently concluded WTO’s MC 11 in Buenos Aires, Argentina in December 2017. The MC 11 had concluded in deadlock without any substantial outcome as consensus eluded the 164-member body.

The deadlock came after US and other developed countries blocked permanent solution on government stockholding for food security purposes and toughened stand on new issues by India and other developing countries. US also had refused to re-affirm the multilateralism and the Doha development mandate in MC11.


BRICS nations vow to fight protectionism

India and other four other members of the BRICS grouping members (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) have pledged to fight protectionism.

Decision in this regard was taken at the two-day meeting of the trade ministers from BRICS nations held at Shanghai, China. They released joint statement highlighting various issues and need to address them collectively.

Highlights of Joint statement

BRICS countries should jointly tackle the challenges of economic globalisation, promote open and equitable world economy. They should uphold the common interests of the emerging markets and developing countries with a view to promoting strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.

BRICS agreed to firmly oppose protectionism and pledged to annul any protective measures, calling on other countries to follow the same suit. They also encouraged more countries to participate in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), urging the institution to show more commitment to receiving the least developed countries (LDCs). They also agreed to play a major part in global economic governance.


BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It was established in 2009 as BRIC. In 2011, South Africa joined this informal group and BRIC became BRICS. The first formal BRICS summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia in 2009. So far, eight such summits have taken place.

The BRICS members are distinguished by their large, fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional and global affairs. The BRICS countries are home to 42% of the world’s population. Their total share in the global economy has risen from 12% to 23% in the past decade and collectively contribute they more than half of global growth. They all developing or newly industrialised countries and all five are G-20 members. They are