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India's Statement delivered by Ambassador & PR at the TNC/HODs meeting held on 14 December 2020

Informal TNC and HoDs Meetings

December 14, 2020


Statement by India –Delivered by Ambassador & PR to the WTO

            Thank you, DDG Brauner and good afternoon colleagues. Let me place on record our appreciation to all the DDGs and the GC Chair in ensuring smooth working of WTO during the transition period amidst a pandemic, unfortunately both the transition period and the pandemic has turned out to be longer than expected.

We also thank you for your report and the Chairs of the Negotiating Groups on Rules, Agriculture, Development, Services and the TRIPS Council for their respective reports.

State of Play

  1. 2. This being the last informal TNC and HoDs meeting of 2020, let me begin with year-end self-appraisal. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were not able to organise the 12th Ministerial. We were unable to agree on the next Director General, despite a clear and decisive mandate indicated in the report of the troika; the Appellate Body continued to be defunct; and thus far, We as Members have been unable to formulate a package of meaningful measures to address the immediate challenges posed by the pandemic.

WTO has added responsibility to facilitate recovery of global economy including global trade. For that we need to do better in 2021.

What we have not been able to achieve during last 10 to 15 years, we should not try to push such items during a pandemic to show our performance; it would be better if we concentrate on the immediate challenges posed due to the pandemic. Saving human lives, livelihood and arresting the losses in the world output and trade should be our topmost priority.

TRIPS Waiver

  1. 3. Therefore, proposal for temporary waiver from the provisions of TRIPS Agreement is first on our priority list. An outcome on this will not only help in saving valuable human lives but a comforting signal on affordability and accessibility of medical products will also boost the confidence in economy and will accelerate the recovery of world trade and world GDP. One percent improvement in global GDP from the baseline scenario will give US $ 850 billion worth of global output.

Movement of health care Professionals

  1. 4. The pandemic has highlighted the need for ensuring easier cross-border movement of not only goods but also that of natural person particularly health care professionals. Members who could have been able to mobilize a greater number of such professionals, were not able to meet increased demand due to restrictive trade practices in Services sector. We must start working on having a multilateral initiative in this respect for an outcome in MC-12.

Selection of DG WTO

  1. 5. Formal appointment of DG WTO, on the basis of the recommendation of the Troika, which was made following an agreed selection process by all members is the next item on our priority list. Our inability to conclude this process quickly, will jeopardise our work in 2021, including the preparations for MC 12.

Appellate Body

  1. 6. Resolution of the crisis in the Appellate Body is another priority. We must immediately re-engage to restore the two-tier dispute resolution system.

Reform Agenda including Special &Differential Treatment (S&DT)

  1. 7. We draw Members’ attention to the document WT/GC/W/778/Rev 3 that India along with other co-sponsors have tabled before the upcoming GC. The proposal encompasses the priorities of developing countries including LDCs regarding an inclusive and balanced reform agenda for the WTO. It also emphasizes how S&DT is central to the founding principles of the WTO.


  1. 8. The food and livelihood security of millions of people across the globe has been affected. Effective mitigation of the food security challenges must include a package that address the structural problems leading to food insecurity, and not some tokenism which will have no significant impact on eliminating hunger and providing food security. A simple, efficient and permanent solution on extending PSH for food security purposes to new programmes and new products should be a key deliverable .

Fisheries negotiations

  1. 9. Common but differentiated responsibility and Polluter Pays principle should be applicable in any agreement relating to sustainability. Those who have provided huge subsidies leading to overfishing and over capacity should take higher cuts in subsidy and capacity. I am thankful to the NGR chair for bringing in the concept of debt repayment which has become overdue. It is an established principle that debt is repaid by respective debtors in proportion to the debt taken. Debt repayment can’t be assigned to all in uniform manner. S&DT in the final outcome must be effective and appropriate having regard to the development needs, livelihood and food security concerns of millions of small fishers of developing countries including LDCs. Any discipline should factor in their capacity to put in place effective mechanism to deal with Unregulated and Unreported fishing and appropriate conservation and management measures.


  1. 10. On digital economy, the pandemic has shown to us that the need of the hour is to build capacity in areas such as digital skills and digital infrastructure, rather than negotiating binding rules on e-commerce. It is also important to bring clarity on the scope of the moratorium on custom duty on electronic transmission, its potential impact on the sustainability of the domestic industry and negative impact on job creation and revenue generation. We must move forward by reinvigorating the mandated work under the 1998 Work Programme on e-commerce in various Councils.
  3. 11. To conclude Chair, in 2021 India will work cohesively to put in place an outcome that addresses the immediate priorities confronting the WTO and the world. India stands ready to work constructively with other Members to realise these objectives.

Thank you, Chair.