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April 14, 2024
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India advocates for flexibility in existing WTO agreements in 13th Ministerial Conference of WTO

Last Updated: Feb 27, 2024


The 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization began on a positive note in Abu Dhabi with Comoros and Timor Leste joining the WTO on the opening day, signaling the organization’s expansion as it approaches its 30th anniversary. Discussions at the conference focused on the future direction of the WTO, with particular emphasis on sustainable development and policy space for industrialization.

India emphasized the importance of avoiding fragmentation of the multilateral trading system and maintaining focus on trade issues, cautioning against mixing non-trade topics with WTO rules. India advocated for flexibility in existing WTO agreements to address developing countries’ concerns and highlighted the need to address long-standing development issues separately from new trade and industrial policies. India’s Commerce Secretary, Shri Sunil Barthwal, led the Indian delegation on the first day.  

Additionally, India stressed the importance of addressing inclusion through targeted national measures and expressed concerns about the potential negative effects of non-trade issues on developing countries’ trade interests. India also outlined various measures undertaken for greater inclusion of MSMEs and women, particularly through digital infrastructure, reaffirming its commitment to multilateralism and the rules-based global trading system. 

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