OECD Current Affairs - 2019
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India has found problems with the current methodology adopted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) under its Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) to rank countries.
- About: A study commissioned by Indian Ministry of Commerce found that OECD index, the STRI has a several problems associated with it, which also includes some significant design issues that render the index impractical for use.
- Issues: As per India the outcomes of STRI are biased and counter-intuitive.
- The initial work suggests that there are both empirical and theoretical inconsistencies in STRI’s methodology.
- The data generated by OECD’s methodology seems to have been through arbitrary procedures and reflects being bias towards developed country.
- It shows Indian services sector as highly restrictive in areas such as FDI.
- Impractical: For instance, STRI seems to show the services sector in India as one of the most restrictive in world, particularly in policy areas like foreign entry, FDI etc. This is astonishing as since 1991, following the LPG reforms the one area that has seen maximum liberalisation in India is Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
- India’s Approach: India is trying to build a consensus around adopting a new method of measuring trade restrictiveness in services sector. For this India approached several developing countries during recently-concluded WTO Ministerial talks held in New Delhi. It has also approached South Africa, Indonesia, China, Turkey and Brazil.
- India’s Argument: Unlike manufacturing trade which has a well-documented system of classification of commodities, the problem in services, is that for a long time there was not any way to find that whether a country’s service trade policies were restrictive.
- Also, even if it was ascertain as restrictive it was not known that what to do about it since services trade is usually regulated by domestic regulations and not border tariffs.
- It was launched in 2014, by The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
- It purpose is to rank countries based on their services trade policies.
- STRI (computed by OECD) is now available for year 2018. It includes a total of 45 economies (with 36 OECD and the rest non-OECD) and 22 sectors. These countries and sectors undertaken represent more than 80% of global trade in services.
Tags: FDI • Foreign Direct Investment • Liberalisation • LPG Reforms • Ministry of Commerce • OECD • Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development • Services Trade Restrictiveness Index • STRI • World Trade Organisation (WTO) • WTO • WTO Ministerial Meet • WTO Ministerial Meeting
The World Health Organization (WHO) has partnered with International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) to achieve its target under ‘REPLACE Strategy’ of eliminating Trans-fat from industrially produced global food supply by 2023.
- As per WHO, Trans-fat (worst form of fat in food) is responsible for more than 5,00,000 deaths each year from coronary heart disease globally.
- Therefore, eliminating Trans Fat from food supply by 2023, is one of the most effective and simplest ways to save lives and simultaneously creating a healthier food supply.
- IFBA members ensured that they will not exceed trans-fat’s industrial limit of 2 gram per 100 g fat/oil in their products globally by 2023.
About Trans Fat
- It is also called trans fatty acids or trans-unsaturated fatty acids, are a type of unsaturated fat.
- Types: two types of trans-fats found in foods, namely
- Naturally-occurring: These are produced in gut of some animals. Animal foods (e.g., milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats.
- Artificial: These are created in industrial process by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Food containing Trans-fat include margarine and ghee, snack, baked, fried foods etc.
- It is widely used in Food Industry as they are easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time.
- Impact on health: They not only raises bad cholesterol (LDL) levels but also lowers good cholesterol (HDL) levels. Thus increases risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke. It also make prone to higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- In 2003 Denmark became first country to mandate restrictions on industrially-produced trans-fats in food products. It resulted in decline in deaths due to cardiovascular disease more quickly than in comparison to OECD countries. The move was then followed by some high-income countries.
- In May 2018, WHO released ‘REPLACE’ strategy which provides six strategic actions to ensure the quick and complete elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the food supply by 2023.
- To ensure that benefits are felt equally around the world, action is needed in low and middle-income countries, where controls of use of industrially produced trans-fats are often weaker.
- It seeks to encourage complete and sustained elimination of industrially produced trans-fats from food supply by 2023.
- REPLACE is an abbreviation for WHO’s six strategic actions as:
- Review (dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats),
- Promote (replacement of industrially-produced trans fats with healthier fats,
- Legislate (enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats),
- Assess (trans fats content in the food supply),
- Create awareness (about negative health impact of trans fats) and
- Enforce (compliance of policies and regulations).
Way Forward for India
On a global scale India has high number of coronary heart disease cases therefore it must try to beat this 2023 deadline and must try to achieve goal earlier.