WTO must incorporate emerging issues to remain relevant: Prabhu

 

New Delhi, Dec 19: The WTO must incorporate emerging issues if it wants to remain relevant in the changing times, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said today, asserting that India will organise a “mini ministerial” meeting of the global trade body within a few weeks to help realise this objective. The 11th WTO meet collapsed last week in Buenos Aires, ending without any ministerial declaration or any substantive outcome with the US going back on its commitment to find a permanent solution to the public food stockholding issue, leaving India and other developing nations disappointed. “We are in the next few weeks going to organise a major conclave in India wherein we want to bring in the top countries of the world. We call it the mini Ministerial for the WTO (World Trade Organization), Prabhu said. He had earlier said that India will call a meeting of some WTO members in February to muster support for food security and other issues. Developed nations have been forming groupings to prepare the ground for pushing investment facilitation, preparing rules for e-commerce, promoting gender equality and reducing subsidy on fisheries. India has been keenly pushing agricultural issues at the WTO. It has also been raising its voice against bringing in new issues, especially those which are not directly linked to trade, on the negotiating table. Addressing a conference here, Prabhu pointed out that the idea behind the mini-ministerial was that the WTO must also focus on some of the very relevant issues of the world today. “If you say that we are going to discuss only those issues, then probably WTO will be a very good historical institution, which will have a very good place in some of the good regions of the world,” he said.