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Preparing agenda for WTO; likely to be discussed in Davos: Suresh Prabhu

India is preparing an agenda for the World Trade Organization (WTO) by taking on board the views of developed as well as developing countries, which is expected to be discussed in Davos, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said.

Key trade ministers from countries including from India would meet next month on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Summit at Davos to discuss the road ahead for the WTO.

“We are in the process of preparing an agenda for WTO, which will be acceptable to most of the countries, and which will take on board the views of developing and developed countries,” Prabhu told agencies.

“We (key trade ministers) are meeting on the sidelines of Davos for mini-ministerial on WTO, where we would like to present this proposal,” he added.

The move assumes significance in the backdrop of growing protectionism in the global trade. Several countries are raising customs duties to protect their industry.

Duty hike by the US on certain steel and aluminium products has triggered a trade war kind of situation.

The rich nations are forming groupings to prepare ground for pushing new issues such as investment facilitation, preparing rules for e-commerce, promoting gender equality and reducing subsidy on fisheries.

India has been keenly pushing agricultural issues at the WTO. It has also been raising its voice against bringing new issues, especially those which are not directly linked to trade, to the negotiating table.

The talks at the WTO’s 11th ministerial conference collapsed after the US went back on its commitment to find a permanent solution to the public food stockholding issue, a key matter for India.

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