EDEN IAS

MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS | INDIAN INTERESTS AT THE WTO MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE | 20TH JUNE | THE HINDU

SYLLABUS SECTION: GS III (ECONOMY)

WHY IN THE NEWS?

Recently, the 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO has been held, where member countries agreed to a series of deals relating to the temporary waivers on Covid-19 vaccines, a moratorium on e-commerce trade, food security, and setting limits on harmful fishing subsidies.

  • Together they constitute what WTO’s Director ¬General Ngozi Okonjo¬Iweala referred to as the Geneva Package.
  • MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE
  • The MC is at the very top of WTO’s organizational decision-making body and usually meets every two years.
  • All decisions at the WTO are made collectively and through consensus among member countries at varies councils and committees.
  • This year’s conference took place in Geneva, Switzerland.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

Curtailing harmful fishing subsidies

  • A multilateral agreement was pass to curb ‘harmful’ subsidies on illegal, unreport, and unregulate fishing for the next four years, to better protect global fish stocks.

Global Food Security

  • Members agree to a binding decision to exempt food purchased by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) for humanitarian purposes, from any export restrictions.
  • However, countries would be allow to restrict food supplies to ensure domestic food security needs.

Covid-19 vaccine production

  • Members agree to temporarily waive intellectual property patents on Covid-19 vaccines without the consent of the patent holder for 5 years so that they can more easily manufacture them domestically
  • The waiver did not cover all medical tools like diagnostics and treatments.

E-commerce transactions

  • All members agreed to continue the long-standing moratorium on customs duties on e-commerce transmissions until the subsequent Ministerial Conference

 Current moratoriums on electronic transmissions have been extend

  • India and South Africa, citing data from the UN Conference on Trade and Development submitted that extending duty-free market access due to the moratorium resulted in a loss of $10 billion per annum globally — 95% of which was borne by developing countries.
  • Member countries agreed to extend the current moratorium on not imposing customs duties on electronic transmission (ET) until MC13
  • ETs consist of online deliveries such as music, e-books, films, software, and video games. They differ from other cross-border e-commerce since they are ordered online but not deliver physically.
  • Proponents had put forth that the moratorium would help maintain certainty and predictability for businesses and consumers, particularly in the context of the pandemic.
INDIA AND 12TH MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE
  • They saw some successes at the MC12 with respect to the above-mentioned sectors.
  • India with some other developing countries lobbied to remove a section of the proposal that would threaten some subsidies which would assist small-scale artisanal fishing

Read more: UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS

SOURCE: THE HINDU

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