The meeting, a sort of mini-ministerial, has been convened by India in the aftermath of failure of the trade talks at Buenos Aires last year on account of differences among the members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
According to an official, the objective of the meeting is to initiate a free and frank discussion on various key issues and challenges facing the Geneva-based WTO.
Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu had earlier said that the meeting will seek to revitalise the multi-lateral trade body.
The meeting also assumes significance as rich nations are forming groupings to prepare ground for pushing new issues such as investment facilitation, preparing rules for e- commerce, promoting gender equality and reducing subsidy on fisheries.
India has been keenly pushing agriculture issues at the World Trade Organisation. It has also been raising its voice against bringing new issues, especially those which are not directly linked to trade, on the negotiating table.
The talks at the WTO's 11th ministerial conference collapsed after the US went back on its commitment to find a permanent solution to the public food stockholding issue, a key matter for India.
The four-day conference in Argentina, which ended without a ministerial declaration or any substantive outcome, did manage to make some feeble progress on fisheries and e- commerce by agreeing to work programmes.
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