India objects to rich nations’ attempts to rake up non-trade issues

Raises concerns on attempts to link labour, environment and gender equality to trade

India has objected to some rich countries using an influential forum called the ‘Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’ to indirectly push certain ‘non-trade’ issues like labour and environment standards as well as gender equality into the global trade body’s negotiation agenda.

According to the WTO, the ‘Parliamentary Conference on the WTO’ is organised jointly by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the European Parliament. Its sessions are “organised each year as well as on the occasion of WTO Ministerial Conferences (WTO’s highest decision-making body).” The Conference “provides legislators with the opportunity to examine developments in the WTO, obtain first-hand information on the state of multilateral trade negotiations, and consider a possible parliamentary contribution to these multilateral processes.”

According to India, it is not fair to link labour and environment standards as well as gender equality to trade, and insist on rule-making on these topics at a multilateral level as such a move would constrain the governments of developing nations from incentivising and promoting these areas to address developmental challenges. India expressed apprehensions that rich nations are using high standards on labour, environment and gender equality as a ploy to curb exports from the developing economies to the developed world.

India is also learnt to have pointed out the double standards of certain countries from the developed world that are pitching for inclusion of such non-trade issues into the multilateral negotiations agenda, but are coming in the way of progressive treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement on climate change as well as the linkage between the TRIPS Agreement and the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity for protecting traditional knowledge and folklore.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 11:54:59 AM |

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