The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, said that India will work along with other member countries to reform the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to ensure that it remains an engine for global trade. Speaking at a conference on Strategic Alliance for WTO and Trade Remedies in New Delhi on 19 November 2018, he said that the multilateral trading system is under stress and number of fresh trade restrictive measures have surged which will affect global trade and economic growth.
Suresh Prabhu said that without WTO, trade, economy will not expand as it is the only organisation dealing with global rules of trade between nations. The WTO acts as an essential pillar of global trade governance providing the framework of rules and practices that underpin some 98% of global trade today and is expected to provide rule based system as well as stability and predictability in world trade.
Suresh Prabhu informed that India is not for or against any country but desire to make WTO a forward looking organisation, which is able to support a better global trade order.He said that during the last few months he has discussed substantive issues with over 100 Ministers of Trade and Commerce of various countries to evolve new reform agenda for WTO which will be acceptable to most the countries.
Here, Rashesh Shah, President, FICCI expressed Indian industry’s concern over reports that the appointment of appellate body in the WTO dispute resolution mechanism is blocked. This, he said, could weaken and paralyse one of the central pillars of the WTO. Industry was also grappling with the sort of complementary domestic polices and global trade governance rules that would be necessary to exploit the potential benefits from technology and applications. In this context, he called for solutions to enable small and medium businesses to take advantage of technology tools and innovations.
Further R Parthasarathy, Principal Partner, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan while welcoming the Minister gave a background of SAWTR and the theme of the conference ‘Contemporary challenges in the international trading systems”, particularly the current trade war and underlined the need for bringing WTO negotiations back on rails, making it even more rule based.