Defeated at WTO, India reaches tentative deal

WTO says it believes in more global deals

REPUBLIC.CO.ID, GENEVA – The main members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) reached a provisional agreement with a victory over India on Thursday (16.6.2022). The WTO said it believes more global deals can be reached during negotiations on fisheries, vaccines and food safety.

As Reuters reported on Friday (June 17, 2022), ministers from more than 100 countries gathered at the global trade regulator’s headquarters in Geneva from June 12-15 for the first time in more than four years to agree on new trade rules. It was a feat many believed impossible at a time of high geopolitical tensions.

The 164 member countries must all agree to the new rules, meaning only one member can block transactions. However, despite earlier opposition from New Delhi, a tentative agreement was reached to extend the moratorium on levying tariffs on electronic transmissions until at least 2023.

Trade Minister India Piyush Goyal, who took a defiant stance on various issues earlier this week, told reporters he expects more solid decisions.

New Delhi, which has blocked multilateral negotiations in the past, has previously stuck to longstanding calls to maintain subsidies for fisheries and agriculture and to push for additional reforms, trade sources said.

India says it is fighting to protect livelihoods in developing countries. Delegates on Thursday expressed more optimism about a package of potential swaps, without specifying what compromises would be involved.

EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis tweeted that members are getting closer.

The negotiators spent most of the night in intensive talks in the so-called “Green Room” of the WTO. US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao are no longer in Geneva, a WTO source said.

Negotiations resumed around 07:00 GMT local time on Thursday (16/6/2022) and should be completed by the evening, they added.

One possible outcome of the talks is an abridged version of an agreement to curb fisheries subsidies that lead to overfishing, a Reuters document shows.

The other is a partial waiver of intellectual property rights for a Covid-19 vaccine intended to allow developing countries to manufacture it and a promise to defuse the food crisis even as the battle to find the right words continues, sources said.

office WTO has maintained confidence throughout the meeting that an agreement can be reached, stating that talks often look hopeless until a final agreement is reached. Observers expressed frustration with the process.

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