Wed, 23 Sep 2020

New Delhi [India], Jan 28 (ANI): The agenda for World Trade Organisation (WTO) reforms should be balanced and inclusive to address the historic asymmetries in the Uruguay Round Agreements, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said while participating in an informal ministerial gathering in Davos last week.

According to a statement released by the commerce ministry on Tuesday, Goyal said a good starting point for the reform agenda will be removing the imbalances in the agreement on agriculture and ensuring a level playing field, particularly for developing economies.

"As long-standing proponents of WTO reform, developing countries have, for almost 20 years, sought the elimination of unequal and trade-distorting entitlements in the agreement on agriculture. Another positive step will be, to build upon the work of the last several years and to implement existing mandates such as a permanent solution for public stockholding for food security purposes," he said.

The minister further said that this will help in enhancing the trust of developing countries in the WTO's negotiating arm.

During his intervention at the gathering, Goyal said that the current challenges throw up some key priorities for MC12 (The Twelfth Ministerial Conference will take place from 8-11 June 2020 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan), including WTO reform.

He said that on the Appellate Body, India believes, that all must work collectively to achieve the vision of the founding fathers, for an effective multilateral trading system.

"The early restoration of the full strength of the Appellate Body, will contribute to the realization of that objective," Goyal added.

The Commerce and Industry Minister also said that developing countries, particularly the LDCs, have not been able to achieve an equitable share in world trade.

"Therefore, the continued availability of special and differential treatment, for these countries, is imperative for them to address their development aspirations," Goyal said.

"The reform process should not be used, to further restrict the flexibilities and policy space required by developing countries, to better integrate with the global trading system," he added.

The Commerce and Industry Minister underlined that a significant outcome at MC12 is essential, for further strengthening the role of the WTO in global trade.

The minister said that as an overall objective, the WTO must ensure transparency and fair practices in global trade, to ensure that our mutual economic engagement results in growth and prosperity for all. (ANI)

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