WTO News: WTO Meeting in June: Inter-Ministerial Meeting of Ministry of Commerce

The Commerce Ministry has convened an inter-ministerial meeting on May 18 to discuss issues that could be significantly discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) highest decision-making body in Geneva next month, an official said.

The 12th WTO Ministerial Conference is scheduled for June 12-15 in Geneva. The 164-member multilateral body formulates global trade rules and judges trade disputes between member countries.

Issues expected to be discussed at the meeting include the proposed Fisheries Subsidy Agreement; Agriculture; Digital trade or e-commerce; WTO response to epidemics including TRIPS (aspects related to trade in intellectual property rights) waivers; Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) issues such as trade and gender, trade and MSMEs; Reforms in the WTO such as the Appellate Body Crisis, Special and Differential Treatment.

The JSI is a system of negotiation in which a specific group of WTO member countries follows the rules of consensus decision-making, without involving all the members of the WTO.

Members are discussing a proposed fisheries subsidy agreement. The purpose is to regulate subsidies for sustainable fishing, eliminate IUU (illegal, undisclosed and unregulated) fishing subsidies and prohibit them from contributing to overfishing and overfishing.

The official said secretaries of various departments including agriculture, environment, consumer affairs, animal husbandry, fisheries, women and child development, MSMEs, electronics and IT and pharmaceuticals are expected to take part in the day-long discussions.

Representatives of various organizations like Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), RIS, NCAER, ICRIER and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences are also invited for consultation.

“This will be a consultative meeting on WTO issues in preparation for the 12th Ministerial Conference,” the official added.

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