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“Source: Business-standard”

India has convened a WTO (World Trade Organization) ministerial meeting of 16 developing and six least developed countries starting Monday. Issues such as impasse on the appointment of WTO’s appellate body members and way forward on reforms at the global trade body would be discussed in the meeting of developing countries in New Delhi on May 13-14.

The meeting is being held at a time when the multilateral rule-based trading system is facing serious and grave challenges.

“In the recent past, there have been increasing unilateral measures and counter measures by members, deadlock in key areas of negotiations and the impasse in the appellate body, which threaten the very existence of dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO and impacts the position of the WTO as an effective multilateral organisation,” commerce ministry said in a statement.

The current situation has given rise to demands from various quarters to reform the WTO, it added.

The 22 countries would also try to build consensus on how to move forward on the WTO reforms, while preserving the fundamentals of the multilateral trading system, it said.

“The deliberations will aim at getting a direction on how to constructively engage on various issues in the WTO, both institutional and negotiating, in the run up to the Twelfth Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be held in Kazakhstan in June 2020,” it added.

The two-day meeting, it said, will be interactive in order to provide an opportunity to the ministers to discuss various issues and the way forward.

On the first day, there will be a meeting of senior officials of the participating countries and on the second day, the ministerial meeting will be held.

Ministers from Bangladesh, Central African Republic and South Africa have confirmed their participation. Vice ministers, senior officials and ambassadors will be representing other countries.

Participating countries include Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Brazil, Chad, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey.