India raises protectionism issue at G-20 : 08-10-2018

Against the backdrop of an escalating global trade war, India has flagged concerns linked to protectionism at the G-20, the group of the world’s 20 largest economies, and stressed on the importance of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as the forum to resolve disputes amid attempts by the US to weaken the multilateral agency.

The demands are at the core of the seven issues flagged by India at a recent meeting of Sherpas, which has started work on putting in place a declaration for the leaders’ meeting late next month, which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

During the meeting, India’s Sherpa Shaktikanta Das has flagged India’s stand on resolving trade disputes at the WTO, where the US has refused to back appointments for an appellate body. At WTO, all decisions are taken through consensus with dissent by even one of the over 160 members resulting in a stalemate.

Even before Donald Trump took over as president, the US has repeatedly sought to weaken the Geneva-based body and has blocked continuation of talks on issues of interest to developing countries such as reduction of subsidies by the rich nations and making visa rules easier for professionals and has instead sought to push a new agenda to include e-commerce and other aspects.

Das, however, told G-20 that reforms of the WTO should not be confined to current issues and members needed to go back and see how earlier commitment had been fulfilled

“The role of multilateralism has to be re-emphasised,” said an officer, pointing to the meeting of the leaders.

India has also made it clear that there should be no attempt for a dialogue on a global value chain for the farm sector at G-20 as the issue was best left to the WTO.

At the same time, the sherpas discussed the need for global currency and monetary stability with India demanding that monetary policy actions should be calibrated and its impact on others, especially the emerging markets such as India and China assessed .

Source : Times of India

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