BUSINESS

Investment facilitation, norms for small firms gain push at WTO talks

At China’s call:All members were urged to endorse the draft decision on Investment Facilitation for Development.Reuters

At China’s call:All members were urged to endorse the draft decision on Investment Facilitation for Development.Reuters  

China, Pak. among many others seeking discussion; India firm on food security

Midway through the negotiations involving 164 World Trade Organisation (WTO) member nations being held here, India is holding its ground on issues such as food security as well as the centrality of development in the talks.

However, a notable group of countries, including Pakistan and China, have demanded taking forward discussions on investment facilitation and proposed norms relating to small firms.

‘New issues’

According to India, these are “new issues” and, therefore, should be considered only after resolving outstanding issues relating to food security that are part of the ongoing round of negotiations which began in Doha in 2001.

The Argentinian capital is hosting the Ministerial Conference, or WTO’s apex decision-making body.

In a communication to the WTO sent on Monday mainly at the request of China, 66 countries (including European Union members), both from the developing and the developed world, said: “We call for a dedicated minister-level meeting on investment facilitation at the (Buenos Aires) Ministerial Conference, led by a facilitator, for members to discuss this important topic. We also encourage all WTO members to actively participate in this dedicated session and to endorse the Draft Ministerial Decision on Investment Facilitation for Development.”

Meanwhile, in a similar submission to the WTO on Monday, 82 nations (including the EU members) called for a dedicated Minister-level meeting on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) at the Buenos Aires meeting for all members to discuss the “important” topic.

(The writer is in Buenos Aires at the invitation of Indian Commerce Ministry)

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