Two-day WTO ministerial meeting begins, talks to help Geneva negotiations

19 March, 2018, 19:33 | Author: Wade Massey
  • US President Donald Trump showing his signature on Section 232 proclamations on steel and aluminium imports on 8 March

Although the meeting does not have a fixed agenda, it assumes significance against the backdrop of increase in duties on steel and aluminium by the United States administration, and Washington dragging India to the WTO against export incentive programmes.

The two-day meeting, being attended by representatives of 50 countries, including the USA, some African nations and China, comes against the backdrop of imposition of import duties on steel and aluminium by the United States administration, and Washington dragging India to the WTO against export incentive programmes.

Representatives of Indian industry have voiced their opposition to negotiations on e-commerce rules at the World Trade Organisation in a meeting with WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo on Monday.

India is hosting an informal mini-ministerial meeting of the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which is being attended by representatives of 50 countries. "We have the dispute settlement system compromised by a blockage in the appointment of appellate members and this will be the focus of conversation in New Delhi", Azevedo told reporters ahead of the start of the meeting.

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When asked if there would be a statement by the Chair at the conclusion of the meeting, she had said it would be for the mini-ministerial to make a decision. Trade environment globally is very risky at this point of time.

"At the same time, the US has been saying that they have some concerns with the way the WTO functions", Mr. Azevedo added.

New Delhi is anxious that a direct confrontation with the Trump administration could impact the interest of software exports to the United States, estimated at almost 60 percent of India's $110 billion annual software exports. "The U.S. sees some conversations that are happening at the WTO now as very welcome and they support that". "It has been great for China and awful for the United States, and great for other countries".

The Prime Minister reiterated that India is a strong supporter of the multilateral trading system.

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