India is raising uncertainty about whether the WTO will implement the agreements at its XII.  will hit summit

India is raising uncertainty about whether the WTO will implement the agreements at its XII. will hit summit

The Economist – Mexico City

India on Wednesday increased uncertainty over whether the World Trade Organization (WTO) will meet at its XII. Ministerial Summit taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, which has been extended by one more day to Thursday.

The meeting is the most important in the last four years of this organization, which is the only one to agree rules for foreign trade at a multilateral level.

In 2021, President Joe Biden’s administration expressed support for the concept of an exemption from certain WTO intellectual property obligations for Covid-19 vaccines, but India and some other countries are seeking broader exemptions for vaccine products and technologies.

“My own feeling is that what we are getting is completely overcooked and will not allow us to produce a vaccine,” Indian Trade Minister Shri Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

At the same time, the United States and other countries are trying to get more advanced development members to abandon the application of special and differential treatment. So far, Brazil, Singapore and South Korea have agreed; However, China and India continue to claim it.

In a third area, the WTO has been pushing hard for a global agreement to cut fisheries subsidies, which would be only the second multilateral agreement since its inception 27 years ago and would prove its relevance at a time of rising trade tensions.

Goyal, in comments to delegates, said India is a strong supporter of sustainability but its fishing industry does not operate large fleets and relies on small and often poor fishermen.

According to Reuters, the minister said India and similar countries should be given a 25-year grace period to phase out fisheries subsidies, much longer than most other WTO members have proposed.

India’s increasing integration into the global economy has prompted some US lawmakers to urge India, like China, to be a more responsible actor in the rules-based global trading system and blame India for impeding progress on certain WTO issues.

In 2021, China ranked 10th among the world’s commodity-importing economies with purchases worth US$570 billion and 18th among exporters with US$395 billion.

Both the agreement on the Covid-19 pandemic and intellectual property rights and the fisheries agreement are among the few results to be achieved at the XII. Ministerial summits are expected.