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.
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.