India’s demands in WTO MC12

12th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) started from June 16, 2022.

Highlights

  • The conference looks forward to reach a consensus on several issues like regulating fisheries subsidies, food security and intellectual property waiver for covid-19 vaccines.
  • This conference usually takes place once in two years. However, this year ministers are meeting after four years, because of covid-19 pandemic.

Committee for negotiations on fisheries subsidies

Committee for negotiations on fisheries subsidies finalised the draft, that will be taken up by ministers. It is not in line with India’s demand to end non-specific fuel subsidies. It mentions a transition period of seven years for developing nations to exempt some developing countries from subsidy cuts, against India’s proposal of 25. Transition period was being negotiated by member nations recently.

India’s priority

India’s priority is to safeguard long-term interests of farmers and fishermen. WTO seeks to build a consensus on an agreement that aims to eliminate subsidies for illegal, unregulated fishing, and promote sustainable fishing. India seeks to finalise fisheries agreement at ministerial as overfishing and irrational subsidies by other countries are hurting Indian fishermen and their livelihood. India is of the view that, sustainability big subsidisers should take greater responsibility in reducing their subsidies and fishing capacities. India has been asking for “special and differential treatment”, in order to protect the livelihoods of poor fishermen and address India’s food security concerns.

TRIPS issue

Some other important issues that India seeks to address include, WTO’s response to covid-19 pandemic including the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) issue, WTO reforms, agriculture issues, including public stockholding for food security, and e-commerce. India is of the view that, Vaccine distribution, trade facilitation, export restrictions, and improved transparency in medical supply chains should be discussed.

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