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India: Reforming WTO: Experts concerned over silence on development by Kirtika Suneja June 11,2019   |  Source: The Economic Times

Experts have raised alarm bells at the G20 ministerial statement being silent on development issues while reforming the multilateral trading system. The G20 trade ministers statement issued on Sunday talks of transparency, fisheries subsidies, ecommerce and dispute settlement in World Trade Organization (WTO) reforms but doesn’t mention development there.

“A sizeable number of G20 countries are a part of the Ottawa Group who don’t want to go ahead with the development agenda. However, India being one of the strongest developing countries should be proactive at such forums,” said Biswajit Dhar, professor at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning in the School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The Ottawa group includes Australia, Canada, European Union, Japan, Norway and Switzerland, among others. “Development being missing from the statement despite India’s presence at the high table is a cause of worry for all developing countries and those who rely on us,” said a Delhi based expert on WTO matters. The G20 said international trade is important for productivity, innovation, job creation and development, and it recognises the contributions that the WTO has made to this end.

Though there are no binding commitments in G20, it sets the

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