Home/ News / India/  India to pitch for reforms in WTO during G20 meetings

India will seek a better dispute settlement mechanism at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and plans to initiate the issue of reforms in the global trade body during G20 talks this year, commerce secretary Sunil Barthwal said on Friday.

This comes amid a logjam in the appointments of new members in WTO’s appellate body that has rendered the organization’s top court dysfunctional. The appellate body is a standing committee of seven members that presides over appeals against judgments passed in trade-related disputes brought by WTO members. It was set up in 1995.

The dysfunctional WTO appellate body doesn’t bode well for global trade as experts fear it could give rise to trade protectionism. Moreover, India is seeking a resolution of the issues as it is facing a rising number of dispute cases concerning agricultural products.

Membership to the appellate body has dwindled as the US has been blocking appointment of new members as it believes that WTO is biased against it.

“Among other issues that India would be taking up in the G20 talks would be WTO-related issues where we want a better WTO dispute settlement mechanism. WTO multilateral arrangement should be working for the benefit of all the countries," Barthwal said at a press briefing.

The commerce ministry’s Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) will look after the trade issues from the G20 point of view with meetings slated to begin 28 March.

“We have taken up five priority issues which are in the field of maintaining and diversification of the global value chains. So, that is one very important priority issue which we are going to take up. Another will be on how to integrate MSMEs within the global value chains and their better integration in the global trading system. The third priority would be regarding the logistics, the external logistics particularly," Barthwal said.

India also wants better integration with the world in terms of facilitating trade between the customs authorities and the government authorities, externally with other countries, he said.

The last issue concerns trade and growth, which is the general issue. India will also be looking at the sustainable development goals (SDGs), how trade can reduce poverty and also how to reduce inequality, not only within nations but also among nations, he added.

The commerce and industry ministry said, in a statement, that the first TIWG meeting with India as G20 president is scheduled in Mumbai, from 28-30 March.

TIWG’s priority issues such as making trade work for growth and prosperity, and building resilient global value chains (GVCs) will be discussed. The emphasis will be on achieving shared outcomes to make growth inclusive and resilient, increase the participation of developing countries and the global south in GVCs, make GVCs work for inclusive development and build resilient GVCs to withstand future shocks, the ministry said.

It added that TIWG’s priorities on integrating MSMEs in global trade, and building efficient logistics for trade will be discussed across two working sessions.

The presidency will aim to carry forward the work done by past G20 presidencies to better integrate MSMEs into global trade considering their primacy in sustaining livelihoods in both the developed and developing countries. The ways of developing robust logistics infrastructure that could reduce transaction costs both across borders and in the hinterland will also be discussed during the G20 meetings.

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Updated: 24 Mar 2023, 11:08 PM IST
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