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India calls for reinvigorating discussions on development agenda at WTO

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) India has called for re-energising discussions in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the development dimension to achieve tangible progress and meaningful outcomes.

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In a communication to the WTO, the country said that there is a substantial unfinished development agenda emanating from the recently concluded 13th ministerial conference of the WTO in Abu Dhabi.

"We seek to strengthen the discussions and debate on the issue of development in the working of all regular bodies of this organisation. We wish that the momentum of development discussions continues in a focused and structured way.

"We, therefore, need to commit to reinvigorating discussions on the development dimension for tangible progress and meaningful outcomes for the WTO to be seen as fit for purpose," India said in its communication titled - '30 Years of WTO: How has Development Dimension progressed - A way forward'.

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According to experts, development agenda refers to issues being pushed by developing and least developed nations. These issues include access to finance and technology, food security, and supply chain resilience.

The WTO will complete 30 years of its inception at the end of this year. The 166-member Geneva-based multi-lateral body was created in January 1995.

Besides monitoring global exports and imports, the body adjudicates trade disputes among the member countries.

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The development dimension has been at the core of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO (Marrakesh Agreement).

The communication dealt with issues concerning effective ways to properly structure discussions on development issues.

"Development dimension is cross-cutting and is at the core of the WTO. What instruction could the General Council issue for a stock take of development agenda in the last 30 years?" it asked.

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While the ministerial conference (MC), which meets biennially, is the highest decision-making body of the WTO, the General Council is the second highest forum.

"Does a stocktaking exercise need to be initiated on how flexibilities in WTO Agreements have contributed to development? If so, what could be the relevant parameters?" the communication asked.

It also dealt with steps that can be taken to reinvigorate the work at different WTO bodies, including the Committee on Balance-of-Payments Restrictions; Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance; and the Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology; to further the development agenda.

India had presented some initial ideas in its statement in the unofficial room document on March 20 in the last General Council meeting held on March 21.

Some initial ideas contained in that document include the suggestion to hold thematic sessions devoting at least one session in 2024 to address developmental needs and concerns. PTI RR CS RR SHW

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