A two-day brainstorming meeting on WTO in the Post-MC11 Phase was
organized by the Department of Commerce and the Centre for WTO Studies on
February 19-20. The participants included representatives from industry,
government, academia, think tanks, civil society and trade policy experts. The
meeting comes in the wake of WTO’s Ministerial gathering India is hosting in
New Delhi to break the trade deadlock between developing and developed
countries Next month.
The objective of organising this brainstorming was to consult as
widely as possible to elicit views on the WTO in the post-MC11 phase. The
agenda was comprehensive, covering a wide range of issues such as Agriculture,
Services, Investment Facilitation, E-commerce, Institutional Issues,
Development, MSMEs and Gender.
The meeting witnessed large participation and a frank and
intensive exchange of views on all issues, both in the current negotiating
agenda of the WTO as well as the issues being proposed for future negotiations
by some countries.
In his remarks, the Commerce Minister expressed great satisfaction
at the depth of issues discussed and the insights provided by the participants.
He emphasized that special and differential treatment remains a critical aspect
of the WTO's framework and this is non-negotiable for India. While some of the
new issues being raised by others may also be of relevance to India, existing
issues such as agriculture are critical livelihood issues, which are extremely
important for India.
Reflecting on India's long membership of GATT/WTO, the Minister
stated that India plays a key role in ensuring the continued relevance of the
WTO, as this is in the best interest of all countries, without exception. In
this context he highlighted the importance India places on the forthcoming
informal WTO Ministerial gathering scheduled to be held in Delhi on March 19th and
20th on India's initiative, which is likely to be attended by
over 50 countries representing the entire spectrum of nations ranging from
LDCs, developing countries to the developed countries. .