Senior officials of participating countries at the inaugural session of WTO ministerial meeting on Monday
Senior officials of participating countries at the inaugural session of WTO ministerial meeting on Monday

India calls for resolving logjam at WTO appellate body

ANI | Updated: May 13, 2019 18:08 IST

New Delhi [India], May 13 (ANI): India said on Monday that existential challenges to the multilateral rules-based trading system are manifest in a spate of unilateral measures and countermeasures, deadlock in key areas of negotiations and the impasse in the appellate body threatening dispute settlement mechanism of the World Trade Organisation.
"The logjam in the appellate body is a serious threat to the dispute settlement mechanism of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and its implementation function," Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said while inaugurating a meeting of the officials ahead of the two-day ministerial meeting of the WTO from Tuesday.
The fundamentals of the system are being tested through a tide of protectionism around the world, vitiating the global economic environment, said Wadhawan. The situation does not bode well for developing countries, including the least developed countries.
"There is an urgent need to engage constructively to preserve the system and come up with constructive solutions to the problem," he said.
The situation has spurred a strong discourse for reforming the WTO, which is characterised by a complete lack of balance. The reform agenda being promoted does not address the concerns of the developing countries, according to an official statement issued by the government.
The reform initiatives must promote inclusiveness and non-discrimination, build trust and address the inequalities and glaring asymmetries in existing agreements.
Agriculture remains a key priority for a large membership of WTO representing the developing world. However, there is a strong push to completely relegate existing mandates and decisions and work done for the past many years, to the background.
Discipline on fisheries subsidies is currently under negotiation at the WTO with intense engagement to understand the issues and work out a meaningful agreement by December 2019. The MC11 decision on fisheries subsidies clearly mandates that there should be an appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing countries.
"It is important for developing countries including the least developed countries to collectively work for a fair and equitable agreement on disciplines in fisheries subsidies, which takes into consideration the livelihood needs of subsistence fishermen and ground realities in our countries, and protects our policy space to develop capacities for harnessing our marine resources," said the statement. (ANI)