WTO meet in Buenos Aires, Argentina: Things to know

The 11 chapter of WTO ministerial meets started in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 10. Commerce and Industry minister Suresh Prabhu (3 months into the office) is representing India’s concern in the meet.   

The 10th chapter of the ministerial conference held in December 2015 in Nairobi ended with Nairobi Packages but came out with no significant result on the trade issue of developing economies such as that of food subsidy. 

The current session of WTO stands divided with one block supporting bilateral relations rather multilateral treaties, protectionism over globalization, and the other group of developing countries trying to negotiate non-exploitive treaties for themselves.       
The session is being chaired by Minister Susana Malcorra of Argentina and will run from December 10-December 14

Here are the top things worth knowing about the meet:

1. India’s concerns: Suresh Prabhu will try to wrestle out India’s core concerns during the global industry’s body meet. The issues of government’s expenditure on Food Subsidy which is capped by the WTO and later withdrawn, will become a major point of discussion during the meet. 

2. E-commerce:  A week before the WTO meeting commenced, India for the first time submitted its formal documents opposing the inclusion of ecommerce in the list of negotiations to be held during the meeting. WTO adapted the ecommerce rules in 1998 which are known as Work Programme on electronic commerce. 

3. g7+ WTO: Just hours before the opening of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) in Buenos Aires, WTO members launched the g7+ WTO Accessions Group, a new platform designed to help post-conflict and fragile economies through WTO membership.

4. New issues vs Old issues: The Doha round did not end with many results for the member countries neither for developed, or developing countries.  Developing countries insisted to carry on with those negotiations in the 11th round. However, several developed countries have argued that they should discussion new age trade issues like ecommerce, investment facilitation etc.