Piyush Goyal will not compromise on India’s interests in WTO

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that India will push for significant outcomes in the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial without compromising the interests of the country and will insist on a permanent solution to the public stockholding issue.

Goyal, who is also the consumer affairs minister, told ET in an interview that his ministry is in talks with stakeholders and has come up with a set of rules aimed at protecting the interests of consumers and promoting orderly growth of e-commerce. Will come with a strong set. within the laws of the land.

Assuring the industry of the government’s support against a possible spurt in anti-competitive imports, Goyal said a large number of stakeholders are being consulted before signing India’s free trade agreement.

Responding to a question on the government asking e-commerce marketplaces to operate under the law, Goyal said the government’s policy on e-commerce is “crystal clear” and there is no scope for ambiguity.

Agreement on Public Stockholding

“Given this level of clarity on what is intended within the law, it is quite surprising that reputable companies have chosen to find ways and means to get around that sentiment in which they need to come first and establish their market operations. Permission was granted,” she said.

Indian trade bodies have often accused US e-commerce major Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart of FDI policy violations.

“The fact that an attempt was made to prevent questions being asked about anti-competitive practices, which is a mandate of the Competition Commission, on the grounds that there is already an investigation under FEMA by the Enforcement Directorate Two subjects that have absolutely no relevance to each other. Attempting to stall the investigation for 18 months leaves many questions on the table,” Goyal said.

WTO Ministerial

The 12th WTO Ministerial Conference will be held in Geneva from November 30 to December 3, where India will push for a permanent agreement on public stockholding for food security and intellectual property exemptions for COVID vaccines and supplies.

“India is pushing for a permanent solution to public stockholding, on which we have a peace clause,” Goyal told ET. But it is important that the WTO finalizes all the elements of the Public Stockholding Agreement and we will work on that.

India has been arguing that its food procurement program is meant for food security and should not be subject to WTO rules on agricultural subsidies.

On discussions on COVID drugs and vaccines, Goyal said no response to the pandemic would be credible unless it included exemptions from the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.

The minister said that India is ready to reform the WTO, but wants to know more about the agenda on which the reform discussions will develop.

“We are also very keen that the fisheries subsidies being used indiscriminately by some countries, which are causing harmful fishing and depletion of fish stocks, should be addressed appropriately, in the spirit of the World Trade Organization. should be done, including recognizing the special and differential treatment (S&DT) available to developing countries,” he said.

He said that the multilateral organization should be run on the basic principles on which it was founded and consensus is one of them, new issues like e-commerce and environment are being discussed in the WTO.

“Therefore we believe that issues like e-commerce or digital trade should come up in working groups and should not be negotiated or discussed through multilateral,” Goyal said.

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