Economy & Business

    India 'sad' over countries' obstructing outcomes at WTO

    The Hawk
    February29/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Trade Minister Piyush Goyal expresses disappointment over countries blocking progress at WTO Abu Dhabi meeting, highlighting India's priorities including dispute resolution system reform and opposition to digital trade tariffs moratorium.

    13th WTO ministerial conference in Abu Dhabi

    Abu Dhabi: India's trade minister said on Thursday he was "sad" some countries were still obstructing significant outcomes at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and gave little sign of dropping New Dehli's opposition to extending a waiver on digital tariffs.

    The WTO ministerial meeting in Abu Dhabi this week is seeking deals on ending fishing subsidies and extending a moratorium on digital trade tariffs - a move that India and South Africa oppose.

    "Of course we feel sad that some countries are still obstructing significant outcomes that could have helped less developed countries and developing countries gain confidence in the working of WTO," Piyush Goyal told reporters on the final day of the talks.

    Still, he voiced optimism that "significant outcomes" could be achieved in the negotiations.

    He did not name the countries blocking results. But he said his top priority was fixing the WTO's dispute system, adding he had raised the lack of progress with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai in a Wednesday meeting.

    "The first and highest priority is to get the Appellate Body of the dispute resolution mechanism in place because without that all the decisions we are taking cannot be adjudicated upon," he said.

    The WTO's top appeals court has been hamstrung for four years due to US opposition to judge appointments and remains out of service. Tai already ruled out an agreement on WTO dispute settlement appeals reform this week, but said negotiations were showing progress.

    Asked whether India would drop its opposition to a waiver on tariffs on digital goods like film downloads, he said: "Let us see what everybody else is budging on".