om: World Trade Organization DG could visit India before December ministerial meeting

Ahead of a key World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference in December, the director general of the multilateral agency, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is expected to visit India in the coming weeks. Sources said Okonjo-Iweala may also meet with indigenous vaccine makers during his scheduled visit towards the end of the month.

“There is an indication that it could come but nothing is confirmed yet,” said an official familiar with the development.

According to another source, the CEO is expected to visit India on October 20-22 and meet with industry leaders, especially those involved in vaccine manufacturing.

The 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) of the WTO will take place from November 30 to December 3, 2021.

“India is a major player and has many concerns in multilateral trade negotiations. She may want to assess India’s thinking ahead of the ministerial conference, ”said one trade expert, adding that it was standard practice for senior WTO officials to visit key countries around the world. ministerial conferences.

At the WTO, India has been pushing for food security programs for developing countries and poor countries to be allowed without any limits and for members who provide trade-distorting agricultural subsidies of more than $ 10 billion. eliminate them within three years.

New Delhi called for a reduction in the fishing capacity of countries fishing in distant waters or in the territorial waters of other countries, with the aim of balancing restrictions on overfishing subsidies with the particular needs of developing countries. development and least developed countries. The WTO aims to finalize disciplines aimed at eliminating subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and prohibiting certain forms of fishing subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, at the next ministerial meeting.

In addition, Ibdia also wants a waiver for all WTO members from certain provisions relating to copyright, industrial designs, patents and the protection of undisclosed information in the agreement on related aspects. trade in intellectual property rights (TRIPS) for the prevention, containment or treatment of Covid-19. .

According to another expert, the visit is crucial because the legitimacy of the WTO is in a crisis where no major decision has been taken for a long time.

“Non-trade issues have entered the WTO, making it difficult for many members to decide their negotiating positions. No one is ready to compromise and decision making has been affected, ”said the second expert.

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