Two-day WTO ministerial meeting begins, talks to help Geneva negotiations

Global Trade War 50 Nations To Brainstorm At WTO Meet In Delhi

The challenges surrounding the dispute settlement system at the WTO-an worldwide body dealing with the rules of trade between nations-will be one of the key focus areas on Tuesday at the mini-ministerial meet in New Delhi.

The United States has raised concerns about the functioning of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and asked for reforms, WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said in New Delhi on Monday.

It further said that safeguarding and strengthening the multilateral trading system was never as important as it is today, and the WTO is also facing systemic challenges, particularly its dispute settlement arm.

A cultural program, "Sangam", showcasing India's classical dance forms was enjoyed by the delegates attending the meet.

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The WTO DG expressed concern over the disruption of appointments at the dispute settlement body (DSB) of the WTO.

"The tenor of the whole green room meeting is after giving up on Doha (negotiations) and "development", it is time to give up on the binding dispute settlement system, as demanded by the U.S.", said a trade envoy from an industrialized country, who asked not to be identified.

Attacking the WTO and its dispute settlement body, President Donald Trump on 26 February said "The WTO is a catastrophe... the World Trade Organization makes it nearly impossible for us to do good business". We have very significant challenges before us.

Although the meeting does not have a fixed agenda, it assumes significance against the backdrop of increase in duties on steel and aluminum by the USA administration, and Washington dragging India to the WTO against export incentive programmes.

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The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has a seven- member appellate body in its dispute settlement system. "We will have an open and honest conversation at the informal WTO meeting", said Azevedo, who will also meet PM Modi and other ministers today.

The New Delhi gathering is the first meeting of WTO members after President Donald Trump announced last week a 25 percent tariff on United States imports of steel and 10 percent on aluminium.

The informal meeting of ministers will provide an opportunity to engage in free and frank discussions that it will lead to political guidance on some major issues, the commerce ministry had said.

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