close

News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox

Challenges of 7.3 billion people in developing countries should be considered during global trade negotiations: Suresh Prabhu

More than 7.3 billion people living in developing countries should not be deprived of the benefits of growth, said Union civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu said at World Trade Organization's ministerial meeting of developing countries which concluded in New Delhi on Tuesday. The meeting is taking place at a time when trade tensions show no signs of abating and protectionist tendencies are on the rise which makes it very essential to collectively debate and discuss the way forward in a multilateral framework, added Prabhu.

Challenges of 7.3 billion people in developing countries should be considered during global trade negotiations: Suresh Prabhu

NEW DELHI: More than 7.3 billion people living in developing countries should not be deprived of the benefits of growth, said Union civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu said at World Trade Organization's ministerial meeting of developing countries which concluded in New Delhi on Tuesday. The meeting is taking place at a time when trade tensions show no signs of abating and protectionist tendencies are on the rise which makes it very essential to collectively debate and discuss the way forward in a multilateral framework, added Prabhu.

The commerce minister added that the New Delhi ministerial meeting is an initiative by India to facilitate a free and frank exchange of views on all issues of common interest, particularly of the developing countries and will explore how to collectively address the challenges emerging from suggestions on WTO reform.

 

The Director-General of WTO, Roberto Azevedo, said that the reform process will mitigate the current crisis at WTO and talk about destroying the existing system is not the correct way and may not have the desired outcome. He further said that the dispute settlement crisis is a deep crisis and all countries have to look for a resolution, adding that business as usual approach is not an option anymore and all members should work for a solution.

Azevedo said that plurilateral should not be seen as a division between developed and developing countries as they contain members from both sides. He further said that the special and differential treatment mechanism must be innovative in order to address the impasse. If left unaddressed it may go either way, he said. The ideal way is to have a bench mark because the differentiation is already happening and is essential for small developing countries. DG, WTO further added that the best way forward is to have a trade-facilitation-agreement-type model where countries may set their own benchmarks.

 

 

"The multilateral trading system is the collective responsibility of all countries who have a stake in it.  It is the duty of countries to successfully address conflicting interests, motives and ideologies, in order to preserve and strengthen this valuable institution," Prabhu added. The principles of non-discrimination, predictability, transparency, the tradition of decision-making by consensus and, most importantly, the commitment to development, underlying the multilateral trading system, are too valuable to lose, he said.

The approach of the New Delhi Ministerial Meeting is to re-energise and strengthen multilateralism and put in place a more inclusive decision - making process. Towards this end, it is essential that the collective view of as many Developing Countries as possible is formally articulated in submissions on WTO reforms.

India had organised an informal WTO Ministerial Gathering last year, in which more than 50 members – both developed and developing- had participated. In the March 2018 gathering in New Delhi it was emphasized that there is a need to preserve and enhance the functioning and credibility of the rules-based multilateral trading system as embodied in the WTO.

Commerce Minister hoped that the New Delhi Ministerial Meeting will re-endorse the centrality of development in WTO negotiations and provide suggestions for WTO reforms with development at its core.

The ministerial meeting of developing countries began on Monday evening with a dinner hosted by Prabhu.