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G-33 Virtual Informal Ministerial Meeting & India
On 16th September 2021, the G-33 Virtual Informal Ministerial Meeting was organized by Indonesia to discuss the Agricultural Priority Issues of G33 and the Way Forward for the Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC-12) scheduled to be held from 30th November to 3rd December 2021.
- The Informal Ministerial Meeting was chaired by the Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Muhammad Lutfi.
- Director General of WTO, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala delivered the Keynote Remarks.
- Out of a total of 47 G-33 Members, representatives from 21 Member countries, including India, took the floor to make brief intervention.
- The meeting concluded with the adoption of the G-33 Joint Ministerial Statement reaffirming commitment for expeditious resolution of the WTO’s mandated issues in agriculture.
- The meeting also called for satisfactorily addressing the development issues of developing countries and LDCs with Special and Differential Treatment as an integral part of international trade negotiations.
India at the Meet
- India’s official delegation for the meeting was headed by Shri Piyush Goyal, the Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles.
- He emphasized that as part of the trust-building exercise for MC 12, G-33 must strive for positive outcomes on permanent solution to Public Stockholding (PSH) for food security purposes which is of utmost importance, finalization of a Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) quickly and a balanced outcome on Domestic Support.
- He also drew attention towards Agreement on Agriculture at the WTO that it is riddled with deep imbalances, which favour the developed countries and have tilted the rules against many developing countries and therefore as a first step in agriculture reform, the historical asymmetries and imbalances must be corrected in order to ensure a rule-based, fair and equitable order.
What is G33?
- The G33 (or the Friends of Special Products in agriculture) is a coalition of developing countries, established prior to the 2003 Cancun ministerial conference, that have coordinated during the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations, specifically in regard to agriculture.
- Dominated by India, the group has "defensive" concerns regarding agriculture in relation to World Trade Organization negotiations, and seeks to limit the degree of market opening required of developing countries.
About Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference
- The 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) will take place from 30 November to 3 December 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.
- MC12 was originally scheduled to take place from 8 to 11 June 2020 in Kazakhstan's capital, Nur-Sultan, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Conference will be chaired by Kazakhstan's Minister of Trade and Integration, Bakhyt Sultanov, as approved by WTO members in December 2019.
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