World Trade Organisation (WTO)

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  • WTO TRIPS Waiver and COVID-19 Vaccine Equity

    The vaccine inequity is not only morally indefensible but clinically counter-productive. Allowing most of the world’s population to go unvaccinated will only spawn new virus mutations. Preventing this humanitarian catastrophe requires removing barriers – such as TRIPS – to vaccine production and its equitable distribution.

    July 12, 2021

    Mangesh Shinde asked: In what ways has India played a leadership role in WTO negotiations and what has been its strategy up till now?

    Rajeesh Kumar replies: India was one of the 23 original signatories to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) concluded in 1947. Since then, India has effectively involved in the formulation of all significant multilateral trade agreements. In the multilateral trade negotiations under GATT, India has often positioned itself as a leader of developing countries and led these countries in challenging some of GATT’s fundamental principles, including the reciprocity.

    India’s Apps Ban: Preparing for Long Haul

    While India’s decision to ban Chinese apps is legally tenable under both domestic IT laws and international trade rules, it is important that any ambiguity in the ban order that can be challenged at WTO is effectively addressed.

    July 29, 2020

    Shijith Kumar asked: After a decade of negotiations, why the Doha Round has not succeeded?

    Jagannath P. Panda replies: The Doha round of talks has not been primarily successful because of the invariable differences between the developed and developing countries on the WTO settings, and about the rules and regulations of the IMF and World Bank. The developing countries mostly argue that the current rules and regulations in most of the global financial bodies are more in favour of the developed or industrialised countries. Also, the developed countries are not forthcoming when it comes to trade concessions for the developing countries or the rising economies. They conduct their business dealings as usual through customary ways i.e., by subsidising their agricultural sectors and setting the market conditions that suits their needs, without caring much about developing countries’ needs. On the contrary, the developed countries/blocs like the US and the EU have been of the view that the developing economies have failed to agree and converge with the developed countries’ demands for near zero-tariffs in important sectors, like agriculture and services.

    These fundamental differences in the Doha Round of talks have increased the divide between the developed and the developing countries. Most of the talks in Doha so far have pressurised the developing countries to open their markets further, overlooking the need for bringing transparency to the rules and regulations in the global financial bodies, like the WTO, IMF and the World Bank. Though it seems that the main reason behind the failure of the Doha Rounds are systemic problems, linked to rule and regulations of the global financial bodies; but the process of discussion has been politicised gradually among the two mainstream blocs- developed and developing countries. Further, there seems to be a lack of coherent strategy among the developing countries to form a credible union which would help put more pressure on the Western or developed powers to bring transparency and make amendments in the rules in the WTO, IMF and the World Bank.

    Vietnam in WTO: New Economic Calculations

    Vietnam was inducted into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on November 8, 2006. This was approved by the General Council, the WTO's major decision-making unit, after due deliberations on October 26. One hindrance in the realisation of Vietnam's WTO membership plans has been the passing of the "Permanent Normal Trade Relation" (PNTR) bill in the US Congress. Earlier the United States Finance Committee had passed the bill on August 1, 2006 by 20 to 18 votes in favour.

    November 22, 2006