India wants WTO bodies to prioritise finance access, food security, tech – The Economic Times

India has called for prioritising issues such as access to finance including trade finance, manufacturing concentration, food security, and reducing transaction costs in international trade and services for discussions in various bodies of the World Trade Organization (WTO).”Cross-cutting real-life trade issues which impact the developing countries disproportionately” such as access to technology, bridging digital divide, supply chain resilience, and enhancing effective aid for trade that is effective, demand driven, untied, and has recipient ownership should be taken for discussion on a priority basis,” New Delhi said in its submission on 30 years of WTO and how the development dimension has progressed.

“If a large part of the membership believes that their agenda is not in lockstep with the priorities of this organisation or the messaging being delivered to the external world…a sense of defeatism and decline in members’ interest in the working of this organisation is imminent,” it said.

Asking the members of the trade agency to arrest this narrative, New Delhi proposed that underutilised WTO bodies such as the Working Group on Trade and Technology Transfer and Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance should be reinvigorated, bringing in greater coherence with relevant intergovernmental organisations.

It also proposed that flexibilities needed by the developing countries for industrialisation and issues holding back digital development such as competition should be prioritised for discussions in various WTO bodies based on member submissions and proposals.

“In this light, we request that this topic be a standing General Council agenda topic until MC14 (14th ministerial conference of the WTO),” India said in its submission made on Thursday.

New Delhi suggested a new triennial review process to improve the functioning of the Committee on Trade and Development and publish a stocktake report on not only what has been achieved but also the gaps, which members believe are preventing progress.

The committee can also prepare a way forward for taking up development dimension starting from WTO informal retreat on development, India said.

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