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At the Group of 20 (G20) nations’ trade, investment, and industry ministerial meeting starting on Wednesday, trade ministers exchanged views on ways to strengthen the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism and make it more “accessible and efficient”.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal in a tweet said he participated in a discussion on WTO’s Dispute Settlement Reform that was convened by US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
The meeting with the USTR is crucial since the conclusion of the 12th WTO ministerial in June, the outcome document had promised to revive the dispute settlement body in the next two years. A top court for trade disputes at the WTO or the appellate body has been defunct for close to three years now as the United States blocked the appointment of new judges.
The body stopped functioning on December 10, 2019, and 24 appeals have been filed in the appellate body since then. Of this, four were filed by India, according to reports.
On the sidelines of the ministerial meeting, Goyal also met Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Vadis Dombrovskis. “Both sides are keen to expedite FTA negotiations with mutually beneficial results,” the minister said in a tweet. The meeting is crucial since India is negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union.
Goyal is expected to hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Indonesia, Canada, United States, and South Korea, the official told Business Standard. India will also try to woo its trading partners to negotiate free trade agreements (FTAs) fast, people aware of the matter said.
“One of the points that India may highlight is that by 2047, the Indian economy will grow tenfold. This should be kept in mind while signing FTAs because these pacts are typically long-term. On the other hand, India’s competitors may not grow at a similar pace, including the developed nations with whom India is signing FTAs. This must be kept in mind during negotiations,” one of the officials said.
India has already signed two trade agreements earlier this year with the UAE and Australia, though the latter is yet to be ratified by the Australian Parliament. India is negotiating FTAs with the UK, Canada, and the EU. Discussions for a trade deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Israel are also on.
The G20 is a strategic multilateral platform connecting the world’s major developed and emerging economies. G20 member nations represent more than 80 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), 75 per cent of international trade, and 60 per cent of the world’s population.
The meeting is taking place at a time when the world is yet to fully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic’s shock and is staring at recession, thanks in part to the geopolitical tensions triggered after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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First Published: Wed, September 21 2022. 19:43 IST