The Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has stressed that the Eleventh Ministerial Conference of the WTO outcomes must include a permanent solution on public stock holding for food security purposes (PSH).
The Minister visited Geneva on 18-19 July 2017 to, inter-alia, hold consultations with representatives of key WTO member countries, Director General WTO and Secretary General, UNCTAD.
During her meeting with the Director General, WTO, Commerce & Industry Minister mentioned the kind of outcomes India would like to see at the upcoming Eleventh Ministerial Conference of the WTO (MC11).
She particularly stressed that the MC11 outcomes must include a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security purposes (PSH) on which there is a Ministerial mandate.
She urged DG, WTO to follow up vigorously to support the efforts to reach finality on PSH and the agricultural Special Safeguard Mechanism.
She stressed that any attempts at seeking outcomes on new issues such as e-commerce and investment facilitation should not be at the cost of other long pending issues on the agenda of the Doha Round.
Sitharaman also addressed the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies on the subject of “Reclaiming Multilateralism”. An audience comprising over 350 diplomats, representatives from various inter-governmental organizations, lawyers, academicians, students and media, attended the event.
Minister highlighted that as one of the founding members of the WTO, India has a long history as a staunch supporter of multilateralism.
She focused on how recent changes in position of some countries have affected multilateralism in general and the multilateral trading system in particular.
She made suggestions to reinvigorate the spirit of multilateralism, specifically for strengthening systems, countering protectionism and fostering development. Emphasizing India’s openness to trade, she pointed out that India’s approach to negotiations is based on a deep and unflinching commitment to address development issues in the trade negotiations.
She urged WTO members to rise to the occasion and take collective responsibility to reclaim multilateralism, which is the only means to address global challenges in trade.
During her visit to Geneva she also interacted with the Secretary General of UNCTAD and Executive Director of International Trade Centre.
During these meetings she appreciated the ongoing activities of these institutions with and on behalf of India and suggested further enhanced engagements.