Covid diagnostics IP waiver, WTO reforms key: India tells G20

India has called for the G20 to discuss crucial issues mandated by the World Trade Organization including reforms of the multilateral trade watchdog and extension of TRIPS waver to cover the production and supply of Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics within the agreed timeframe of six months.

At the G20 Trade, Investment and Industry Ministerial Meeting in Bali, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal also batted for a fair, transparent and rules-based multilateral trading system, the government said on Thursday.

“He also asked members to be conscious that our fisheries negotiations and a permanent solution to public stockholding, a permanent solution to e-commerce moratorium amongst other agendas required their urgent attention and decisions,” the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement, quoting Goyal.

The minister called upon all members to show utmost flexibility and draw from the experience at the WTO MC12 in June where significant progress to promote equitable and fair trade was achieved, according to the statement.

In the wake of the pandemic and other recent geopolitical developments, Goyal highlighted the urgent need to address supply chains challenges and also sought to promote a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation to tackle climate change.

“There was significant support to India’s position and many members expressed the desire to see outcomes, and aligned with India’s proposal,” the ministry said.

Goyal also met ministers from Saudi Arabia, the UK and UAE at the G20 meeting.

“Both sides have set their sights on a time-bound conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement negotiations,” Goyal said in a tweet after meeting UK’s Minister of State for International Trade JamesDuddridge.

With the UAE, India took stock of the progress under the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and discussed further strengthening of trade and investment ties.

India and the UAE had signed CEPA this February to boost bilateral trade to $100 billion over five-years.

New Delhi is negotiating a trade pact with the UK, which is expected to be signed by Diwali.

With Saudi Arabia, Goyal deliberated ways to attract greater investment and strengthen bilateral trade to further bolster economic ties.

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