Issues to dominate WTO meet
- June 9, 2022
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN Topics
Issues to dominate WTO meet
Subject : Science and Technology
- The twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) of the WTO will take place during June 12-15 in Geneva to decide on crucial issues impacting world trade.
WTO Ministerial Conference
- The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making forum of the WTO. The last such meeting, the MC11, took place in 2017.
- MC12 is taking place in the back- ground of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the Covid-induced lockdown in parts of China.
Important issues that will be discussed at the MC12:
- Fisheries sectorThe negotiations aim to
- (i) eliminate subsidies to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) ﬁshing,
- (ii) prohibit subsidies for ﬁshing overﬁshed stocks and
- (iii) subsidies to fishing contributing to overfishing and overcapacity. The idea is to curb subsidies that threaten the sustainability of fishing.
- Agriculture and food security
- For India, securing the Permanent Solution to the issue of public stock holding (PSH) would be the top priority.
- The most awaited reform is restoring the functioning of the Dispute Settle- ment System (DSS) including the Appellate Body (AB). This is needed to preserve the rights and obligations of WTO Members.
- Another area being discussed for reform are the Special and Differential Treatment (S&D) provisions of various WTO Agreements. S&D provisions allow the developing and LDC members to take a longer time to meet the various obligations.
- Many developed countries seek to limit the application of such flexibilities. India considers S&D provisions as non-negotiable, treaty-embedded rights which should not be diluted.
|Special and Differential Treatment (S&D)|
○ The WTO Agreements contain special provisions which give developing countries special rights and which give developed countries the possibility to treat developing countries more favourably than other WTO Members. These special provisions include, for example, longer time periods for implementing Agreements and commitments or measures to increase trading opportunities for developing countries.
These provisions are referred to as “special and differential treatment” (S&D) provisions.
The special provisions include:
- Moratorium on e-comm, TRIPS
- The Moratoriums on E-Commerce and TRIPS is- sues were renewed every two years. MC12 may likely agree to further extension.
- To promote e-commerce, the WTO members in 1998 agreed to not charge (Moratorium) Customs Duties on Electronic Transmission for two years.
- Similarly, members agreed to a moratorium on the launch of disputes at the WTO over intellectual property rights.This is known as TRIPS non-violation and situation complaints(NVSC) moratorium. The Moratoriums on ECommerce and TRIPS issueswere renewed every two years. MC12 may likely agree to further extension
- Easing pandemic pain
- WTO’s response to the pandemic is a priority for MC12.
- India and South Africa proposed waiving patent protections on Covid-19 vaccines temporarily by more generous application of the ‘compulsory licensing’ procedure allowed under the TRIPS agreement.
- Looking at the destruction the pandemic has caused, the decision should have been swift. However, under pressure from the pharma lobby, most developed countries ar-gued for solutions which essentially meant opposing the proposal.