WTO has continuously faced the challenge of striking a balance between the interests of developed and developing economies. Discuss.

The WTO has promoted unhindered trade across borders since its inception. It has also played an important role in the growth of GDP across the world and reducing poverty by increasing trade.

However, there are several issues that have been present since its inception:

  1. Agreement on agriculture:
    • Doha round of talks are yet to be concluded.
    • Difference on subsidies between developed and developing nations as minimum level ensures higher quantum of subsidies in developed nations but threatens food security of developing world.
  2. US’s changing stance and accusations of being robbed as it does not enjoy voting monopoly like IMF.
  3. Defunct dispute settlement since 2018 due to US policies.
  4. Continued battle on IPR rights and use of TRIPS especially for life saving pharmaceuticals.
  5. Issues pertaining to GI tags. E.g. Pakistan and Egypt claims on Basmati rice.

Way forward:

  • Need to push for making dispute settlement process functional again.
  • Bring in flexibilities to check ‘vaccine nationalism’ and global equity in distribution.
  • Further period for Bali peace accord to extend support to LDCs and developing world.

Thus, WTO should focus on fastracking solutions for both old and new challenges to give fillip to world trade.


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