World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 11th – 14th December 2017.WTO Ministerial Conference is a gathering of Trade Ministers from 164 WTO member countries. The conference is held every two years.
- This conference is held to take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.
- A multi-ministry Indian delegation to this conference was led by Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Suresh Prabhu.
India insists on permanent solution to food security issue
At the 11th Ministerial Conference of WTO, India insisted that WTO should arrive at a permanent solution on issue of public stockholding for food security.
Issue of public stockholding for food security:
As per WTO norms, any member country’s food subsidy bill should not cross the limit of 10 percent of the value of production based on the reference price of 1986-88.
- India is opposing this norm as implementation of its food security programme as envisaged in National Food Security Act, 2013 will result in the breach of this limit.
- At MC11, Assistant US Trade Representative Sharon Bomer Lauritsen clarified that permanent solution to the food stockholding issue was not acceptable to America.
- Thus, India has taken a stand that if issue of public stockholding for food security is not resolved it will not hold talks to discuss other issues like services, fisheries and e-commerce other issues like services, fisheries and e-commerce.
EU gives EUR 1 million to enhance trading skills of developing countries
European Union has donated EUR 1 million to the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund.
- This fund will be used conduct training workshops geared towards improving the trading capacity of developing countries.
- At these workshops, training will be imparted to officials to help them better understand and implement WTO agreements.
- It is to be noted that EU has donated approximately EUR 20 million to WTO trust funds during last 15 years.
ITC, UNCTAD, WTO launch Global Trade Helpdesk
On December 11, 2017, International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) unveiled Global Trade Helpdesk.
- Global Trade Helpdesk is an innovative tool to help businesses, especially smaller firms.
- It is expected to serve as a one stop destination not only for businesses but also for policymakers to access trade data and actionable information on their target markets.
- Global Trade Helpdesk is accessible through a new online hub – HelpMeTrade.org.
Quick Facts about World Trade Organisation:
- Formed in – 1995
- Task – Regulation of International Trade
- Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
- Current Director General – Robert Azevedo