Use WTO mini meet to raise third world concerns: SJM to Suresh Prabhu

RSS' economic arm — the Swadeshi Jagran Manch — has urged the Ministry of Commerce to utilise the forthcoming WTO mini-ministerial meeting to raise issues bothering India and other third world countries that are being bulldozed by increasing protectionism among developed economies.

"SJM did a series of stakeholder consultations and resolves to urge you that the mini-ministerial meeting is an occasion for reclaiming the development space at the WTO. Towards the end, India must show leadership and issue a statement jointly with other developing countries emphasising the critical role of Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT) provisions for all developing countries in WTO agreements," SJM national co-convenor Ahwani Mahajan wrote to Union minister Suresh Prabhu.

The SJM functionary also reminded Prabhu of the need to ensure India's needs of food security. "The challenge of food security is not unique to India, but is a matter of great concern to all the developing countries. In the mini-ministerial, the joint statement must reflect the emphasis that WTO rules must not come in the way of governments addressing food security challenge and WTO members must urgently resolve this issue," the letter said.

Mahajan also reiterated that the joint statement on development must emphasise that international trade is not an end in itself, but a means for development and economic growth and without suitable S&DT provisions, developing countries would be unable to fully participate in international trade and benefit from it.

Mahajan also reminded that the US had reneged several times on its promises made at the WTO. "US, along with other developed countries, are changing their priority and resolving to move towards a fast-track work programme on rule making in e-commerce, investment facilitation and limiting subsidies for illegal and unreported fisheries. This must be checked."

Urging the minister to preserve India's emerging e-commerce from onslaughts from developed economies, Mahajan said, "At the forthcoming mini-ministerial meeting, India along with other like-minded member countries must come out with a joint statement opposing multilateral negotiations on this issue."