The Economic Times, August 16, 2023
Given the prevailing trust deficits in trade multilateralism, all eyes will be on the G20 Trade Ministers’ vision for addressing the systemic issues plaguing the WTO. The stage is set for the final G20 Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) meeting, followed by the Ministerial meeting of G20 Trade Officials and Ministers, which will be held over the course of next week in Jaipur.
The Jaipur G20 Trade Ministerial must restore faith in trade multilateralism and the WTO. The minister must not shirk from tackling contentious issues where significant differences exist between G20 countries.
These include greater mainstreaming of development concerns, revival of the Appellate Body, and arriving at a shared understanding of the nexus between trade and climate change mitigation policies, according to Pradeep S. Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International.However, given the prevailing trust deficits in trade multilateralism, all eyes will be on the G20 Trade Ministers’ vision for addressing the systemic issues plaguing the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In this context, Mehta, who is also an NGO Adviser to the Director General of the WTO, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala, observed that, “Multilateralism is in peril. With just around six months to go for the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), there have been limited breakthroughs in fresh negotiations, and the second-tier of the WTO’s dispute settlement arm, the Appellate Body, remains inoperative.”
The stage is set for the final G20 Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) meeting, followed by the Ministerial meeting of G20 Trade Officials and Ministers, which will be held over the course of next week (August 21-25, 2023) in Jaipur.
The G20 Trade Ministers will cement the work undertaken by theTIWG, particularly on the focus areas of India’s G20 Presidency- trade and development, better integration of developing countries and MSMEs in Global Value Chains, dispersed and resilient supply chains, and trade facilitation &logistics.
G20 Policy Priorities are likely to be identified in these areas, which will be a part of the Meeting’s outcome documents. These will then be presented to G20 Leaders next month for their consideration andinclusion in the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration.
The G20 has in the past led discussions on WTO reform, most notably under the auspices of the Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the WTO, which was launched in 2020 by the Saudi G20 Presidency as part of the TIWG. Its outcomes were reaffirmed in the G20 Bali Leaders’ Declaration in 2022.
Mehta called on the G20 Trade Ministers to deliver an outcome document which outlines a clear path towards how G20 countries will work together on these issues and advance the multilateral trade agenda at the WTO.
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