Sitharaman to discuss trade facilitation in services with WTO DG

Sitharaman to discuss trade facilitation in services with WTO DG

Developed nations like the US are asserting to include e-commerce in the WTO agenda.

The Dollar Business Bureau

The Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to discuss issues such as the proposed trade facilitation agreement (TFA) in services during her meeting with World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo on Tuesday in Geneva.

The meeting assumes importance as it is being organised before the WTO’s ministerial conference to be held in December in Argentina. Once an official outline is decided for the ministerial conference, members are bound by WTO regulations to discuss only that and not initiate the new ones. 

The other issues that would be taken up for discussions during Sitharaman’s meet at the organisation’s headquarters include finding a permanent solution for public stock holding of food grains for food security, subsidies on fishery and preparations for the upcoming meeting in Argentina.

“The meeting is important as the next ministerial conference is in Argentina in December. India has made it clear it would always protect the interest of the coastal community,” a commerce ministry official told PTI.

Before the 11th Ministerial Conference meeting in Argentina, the technical preparations need to be properly tied up, the official added.

New Delhi wants that new issues, like the inclusion of e-commerce in the WTO’s agenda, would be considered after consensus among the organization's members.

Developed nations such as the US are asserting to include certain issues such as e-commerce and investment facilitation in the agenda of WTO.

India has filed a paper on TFA in services and wants that WTO member nations should discuss it.

The services agreement is expected to be designed along lines similar to that of goods agreement passed by the WTO in 2016 as that would provide a major boost to the Indian economy. Services contribute around 60% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and involves 28% of the workforce in India.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Jul 18, 2017 12:00 IST