ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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COVID-19 Vaccine Accessibility

The patent waiver procedure at the World Trade Organization needs to be fast-tracked. The global community must not be constrained by the interests of private industry and saving lives is what matters.

WTO and Rules of Origin

The WTO panel report on the Indo-US dispute over rules of origin in textile and apparel products imports shows how the Agreement on Rules of Origin could be used, and how inequitable its resolution could be. It also shows that protectionism could take new forms, and confirms some of India's worst fears if origin could be conferred other than on the basis of the restrictive criteria of substantial harmonisation of the rules of origin.

GATS and Trade in Audio-Visuals

The history of negotiations on trade in audio-visuals (AV) at GATS has been complicated with some countries belonging to the EU, France in particular, and Canada adopting a â??cultural exception' clause and calling for trade in AV to be treated differently from trade in other goods and services. The US, as the pre-eminent producer of mass mediated culture, has taken a pro-trade line. India, which is a producer of cultural commodities in its own right, has been forced to open its doors to US film industry not only as a result of GATS, but also as a result of Section 301 measures taken by the USTR.

Green Business Prospects

While the negotiations under the WTO on environmental goods and services (EGS) issue are proceeding at a slow pace, developed countries appear to be the most likely gainers in terms of increased market access for their environmental products. Most developing countries are net importers of these products. However, the Indian environmental industry is still in its infancy and if appropriately developed and offered some protection, could gain access to markets abroad.

Investment on WTO Agenda

This paper examines the relevance of a multilateral framework on investment from a developing country perspective in the light of available evidence on the role of FDI in development. It also suggests the policy options that developing countries may consider at the Cancun Ministerial Conference on the issue of Trade and Investment. Further, it reflects on the approaches to make different elements of a possible multilateral framework on investment more pro-development and balanced, in case a negotiating mandate is unavoidable at Cancun.

India and the WTO

The consequence of the government's approach to the WTO and to trade negotiations is to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our flawed rejectionist approach to negotiations, with the absurd threats to leave, imply that we are unable to address our own immediate trading concerns, and end up with agreements which do not meet our concerns and which we are ill-equipped to implement.

Wrong on WTO

One of the most significant events scheduled to take place at the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation at Doha, Qatar, is the formal entry of China into the trade body, along with a few other nations. China is one of the world’s largest traders, capable of using its enormous imports to exert influence on foreign governments. Such a country has been campaigning hard to find its way into the WTO and has made remarkable concessions to the US and the European Union to obtain their agreement to its inclusion among WTO members. Indian politicians who demand that India should walk out of the WTO if the Doha meet launches a new round of trade talks ignoring India’s opposition to such a move would do well to ponder over the imperatives that drove China to yield the significant concessions that it has, in order to gain membership of the multilateral trade organisation. The simple fact is that multilateral rules, rule making and rule enforcement are of great help to countries that seek to gain from trade. In the absence of such rules and mechanisms to enforce them, countries would have to depend on bilateral deals. Apart from increasing transaction costs, bilateral dealings would also prove more iniquitous for India, whose share in world exports is all of 0.7 per cent, given the great disparity in economic size or trade volumes between India and its major trading partners.

Seattle to Qatar: World Trade Negotiations

The draft Declaration for the WTO's ministerial meeting at Doha reveals some interesting shifts in the positions of important countries which may help to avoid a repetition of the type of fiasco witnessed at Seattle two years ago.

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