Suresh Prabhu, Commerce and Industry Minister speaks during the ET Global Business Summit in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Udit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg) 

Preparing Agenda For WTO; Likely To Be Discussed In Davos, Says Suresh Prabhu

India is preparing an agenda for the World Trade Organization by taking on board the views of developed as well as developing countries, which is expected to be discussed in Davos, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said.

Key trade ministers from countries including from India would meet next month on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Summit at Davos to discuss the road ahead for the WTO.

"We are in the process of preparing an agenda for WTO, which will be acceptable to most of the countries, and which will take on board the views of developing and developed countries," Prabhu told PTI.

The move assumes significance in the backdrop of growing protectionism in the global trade. Several countries are raising customs duties to protect their industry. Duty hike by the U.S. on certain steel and aluminum products has triggered a trade war kind of situation.

The rich nations are forming groupings to prepare the ground for pushing new issues such as investment facilitation, preparing rules for e-commerce, promoting gender equality and reducing subsidy on fisheries.

We (key trade ministers) are meeting on the sidelines of Davos for mini-ministerial on WTO, where we would like to present this proposal
Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Commerce and Industry 

India has been keenly pushing agricultural issues at the WTO. It has also been raising its voice against bringing new issues, especially those which are not directly linked to trade, to the negotiating table.

The talks at the WTO's 11th ministerial conference collapsed after the U.S. went back on its commitment to finding a permanent solution to the public food stockholding issue, a key matter for India.

The four-day conference in Argentina, which ended without a ministerial declaration or any substantive outcome, did manage to make feeble progress on fisheries and e-commerce by agreeing to work programs.

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