At a CII sponsored conclave here on the services sector, Prabhu said India would soon be organising a multilateral ministerial meeting to discuss moving ahead after the collapse of the Buenos Aires talks.
“We are organising a major conclave in India following the disappointing end to the WTO’s 11th ministerial,” the Minister said.
“If we only discuss issues of interest to a handful of developed countries, then a multilateral body like the WTO, with a majority of developing countries, will become irrelevant,” he said.
The talks at the 11th ministerial conference broke down last week as the US reneged on its commitment, along with other countries, to find a permanent solution to the issue of public food stockholding by members of the multilateral trade body.
At the ministerial, India continued to press for the reduction of farm subsidies by developed countries and resisted inclusion of new issues on the negotiating table like e-commerce and investment facilitation into the ongoing Doha Round of talks that has a developmental agenda in case these dilute the commitment to complete the existing agenda. Prabhu said a ministerial exercise is currently underway to project an estimate of the percentage of global trade required as a proportion of world GDP in order to draw up a strategy to realise such trading.
IACC backs India on stance taken at meet
The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) welcomed the Indian government’s decision to shortly hold a mini-ministerial meeting of 40 countries, following the WTO. “IACC will send strong message to the developed world that WTO forum should not be used for promoting unilateral and partisan interests,” it said. India would be organising a multilateral ministerial meeting in a few weeks time to discuss moving ahead after the collapse of the Buenos Aires talks, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said the WTO risked becoming irrelevant if it only focuses on issues of interest to the developed world.