Centre to send experts to expedite talks at WTO

February 10, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 03:38 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman

The Centre will send an expert team to the World Trade Organisation headquarters in Geneva next month to ensure that negotiations on food security issues and the proposed global services pact are expedited, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday.

This development follows Ms. Sitharaman’s meeting with WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo, who is on a two-day visit to India.

During the meeting, Ms. Sitharaman raised the need to ensure that the processes on outstanding issues — including arriving at a permanent solution to the issue of public stock-holding for food security purposes — of the WTO’s Doha Round negotiations are completed before the December 2017 Ministerial Conference (MC) in Argentina.

The Minister maintained that India was against introduction of ‘new issues’ including e-commerce into the formal agenda of the WTO-level negotiations on liberalisation of global trade without consensus among all the WTO Members.

The Minister also reiterated India’s opposition to attempts by some rich countries to work towards a global investment agreement at the WTO-level that would incorporate a contentious Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism.

Besides, she said, India would consider the proposed multilateral disciplines on fisheries subsidies, provided they ensure that the country’s resource-poor fisherfolk were protected.

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