India Leads and Delivers at WTO 12th Ministerial Conference: Piyush Goyal

"India stood strong for its MSMEs, farmers & fishermen. The voice of the poor and the vulnerable got strengthened globally by India's stand at the WTO," says Shri Piyush Goyal, "India was at the center of WTO negotiations, India's firm stamp is visible in the outcome of every WTO meeting."

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India has been able to secure a favourable outcome at the WTO after many years, despite a strong global campaign against our farmers & fishermen, said Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal, after conclusion of the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva today. Terming the just concluded MC12 as an “outcome oriented” success, Shri Goyal said the Indian delegation, guided constantly by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has been 100 percent successful in portraying before the world the priority issues for India and the developing world.

Shri Goyal said the Indian delegation leveraged India’s strong relationship with the world, which the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has nurtured over the last few years.

“Few countries attempted to create false campaign, initially on Sunday and Monday, that India is obstinate due to which no progress is being made. The real situation has emerged before us all, the issues raised by India, on which Prime Minister had asked us to focus upon, now the whole world acknowledges that was the correct agenda and ultimately India played a vital role in arriving at all solutions,” Shri Goyal told a press conference in Geneva.

Stating that it is a proud day for 135 crore Indians at the WTO today, Shri Goyal said India took the lead and was at the center of the conference. “It turned the tide of negotiations from full failure, gloom & doom to optimism, enthusiasm and consensus based decision. India’s efforts to bring members on a table to discuss issues irrespective of the existing geopolitical order has ensured that the world order is not broken,” he said.

Admitting that India and the Developing countries accepted certain compromising decisions when the WTO was established 30 years ago and during the Uruguay Round of negotiations, Shri Goyal said India today bats on the front foot rather than being fearful on various issues be it Environment, Startups, MSMEs or gender equality. This is a result of the confidence of New India. India is able to build consensus & get a Win-Win outcome for the world, he said.

“Today as we return India there is no issue on which we have to be the least concerned, whether it is related to Agriculture such as MSP, reinforcing the relevance of the Public Stockholding Programme towards fulfilling the National Food Safety Programme or PM Garib Kalyan Scheme, TRIPS Waiver, e-Commerce moratorium, response to covid and fisheries,” said Shri Goyal, adding, “Similarly there have been no restrictions on fishing that our fishermen were deeply concerned about, that would bind artisanal and traditional fishermen of India in the future. India has been cent percent successful; no restrictions or terms have been placed on India or the Government, rather we have been successful in introducing checks on illegal fishing, under-reporting or outside regulation, viz IUU fishing.”

Shri Goyal said India remains committed to supporting the World Food Programme (WFP). Citing India’s recent wheat supplies to Afghanistan, he said the Government has imposed no export restrictions on WFP purchases for food security in other countries; however, domestic food security takes priority.

On the global fight against the Covid19, Shri Goyal said the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) decision will boost vaccine equity, accessibility & affordability. It will enable ease of authorisation for production of patented vaccines and India can produce for domestic requirements and exports.

On the WTO Reforms agenda, Shri Goyal said the basic structure and core principles of WTO including Consensus, S&DT provisions, SDG goals, will be retained while making it more contemporary. “I believe it will be good for the WTO, and will be good for the Developing and Under-Developed countries in the future and foster global trade through transparent means,” he said.

Shri Goyal said India’s motto of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ echoes in the WTO, India not only raised its issues but raised the issues of other developing countries, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), poor & vulnerable with sensitivity and fought bravely for their cause.

Outcomes at the WTO MC 12 Meeting

  • On fisheries, there would be a check on illegal unreported and unregulated fishing in our waters and elsewhere. There would be very strict controls on overfished areas so that fish stocks are restored. Additionally, no subsidies to be provided for fishing in areas outside EEZ or RFMOs.
  • The TRIPS decision will boost export, vaccine equity, accessibility & affordability. A country can authorize production of vaccines patented elsewhere and there would be no consent required as well as there would be no limit on exports. A decision on Diagnostics/Therapeutics would be taken in 6 months. There would be faster pandemic response in future and there would be fewer trade barriers in pandemics.
  • The agenda decided on WTO reforms will make the WTO a more efficient, agile body. The dispute settlement body will be revived and play its expected role in settling trade disputes. The reform would deliver better trade outcomes for developing countries. A reference to Gender, Environment & MSME has been made in the WTO reform agenda.
  • On e-Commerce, while agreeing to the temporary moratorium, India asked for intensifying discussions on the moratorium including on its scope, definition and impact for taking an informed decision on the same.
  • The Food Security Declaration, focusses on making food available in developing countries while working towards increasing productivity and production
  • As regards, the World Food Programme (WFP), there would be no export restrictions on WFP purchases for food security in other countries; However, domestic food security will take priority.