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Emphasis on strengthening WTO to promote development and inclusivity
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Emphasis on strengthening WTO to promote development and inclusivity

Agency News

New Delhi, May 14: Many developing, including India and China, and and least developed countries emphasised on making the World Trade Organization (WTO) more relevant, to strengthen its dispute settlement system, to bring transparency in decision making and to provide equal opportunity to all in the global market.

Union Commerce and Trade Secretary Anup Wadhawan released a document at the press conference here after the two-day ministerial meeting of the WTO concluded on Tuesday.
He said the meeting organised on India's initiative, was a great success.

Dr Wadhawan said that all countries contributed to the preparation of the document and had their agreement on all issues.
''All the participating countries agreed to strengthen the WTO and make it more relevant. WTO Members urged for expediting the process of accession of new Members,'' he said.
''One of our shared goals is to make WTO a much better organization, forward-looking, vibrant, encompassing everyone's interests, ensuring that development happens through trade as well, he said, adding that ''to achieve that we must ensure that WTO would address the concerns of developing countries''.

WTO Mini Ministerial Meeting at Delhi is for like-minded nations and not against any country or group of countries, he said, adding that the reality of challenges that developing countries face should be borne in mind while tenets of global trade are being negotiated.

In a statement, delegates of 23 countries, including Arab Republic of Egypt, Barbados, Central African Republic, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Jamaica, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, People's Republic of Bangladesh and People's Republic of China, said they discussed recent developments at the WTO and explore ways for working with all Members to strengthen the multilateral trading system.

The members reiterated their commitment to work towards strengthening WTO by promoting development and inclusivity for the benefit of all Members.

Republic of Benin, Republic of Chad, Republic of India, Republic of Indonesia, Republic of Malawi, Republic of South Africa, Republic of Uganda and Sultanate of Oman also met here on May 13 and 14 May to discuss recent developments at the WTO and explore ways for working with all Members to strengthen the multilateral trading system.

The members reaffirmed the pre-eminence of the WTO as the global forum for trade rules setting and governance.
''We note with concern the multiple challenges confronting the rules-based multilateral trading system and agree to work together with all WTO Members to strengthen the WTO, make it more effective and continue to remain relevant to the diverse needs of its Members, in line with objectives of the WTO,'' they said.

The members also re-affirmed that the dispute settlement system of the WTO is a central element in providing security and predictability to the multilateral trading system.
This has proved to be more effective and reliable as compared to its predecessor, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

The delegated noted that Members have failed to arrive at a consensus in the selection process to fill vacancies in the Appellate Body.
''This ongoing impasse has weakened the dispute settlement system and threatens to completely paralyse it by December 2019. We, therefore, urge all WTO Members to engage constructively to address this challenge without any delay in filling the vacancies in the Appellate Body, while continuing discussions on other issues relating to the functioning of the dispute settlement mechanism,'' according to the statement.

An inclusive multilateral trading system based on equality and mutual respect should ensure that all WTO Members abide by WTO rules and abjure any form of protectionism.

The members said the core value and basic principles of the multilateral trading system must be preserved and strengthened, particularly with a view to building trust among Members and urged WTO Members to adopt measures that were compatible with WTO rules to avoid putting the multilateral trading system at risk. (UNI)