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Multilateralism Only Way To Tackle Global Trade Challenges: Nirmala Sitharaman

She focused on how recent changes in position of some countries have affected multilateralism in general and the multilateral trading system in particular

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It is high time World Trade Organization (WTO) members should rise to the occasion and take collective responsibility to reclaim multilateralism, said Indian Commerce and Industry Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman during her visit to Geneva on 18-19 July, 2017.

Addressing the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies on the subject of “Reclaiming Multilateralism”, Sitharaman said multilateralism is the only means to address global challenges in trade.

Multilateralism is the principle of participation by three or more parties, especially by the governments of different countries.

She highlighted that as one of the founding members of the WTO, India has a long history as a staunch supporter of multilateralism.

She focused on how recent changes in position of some countries have affected multilateralism in general and the multilateral trading system in particular.

Emphasising India’s openness to trade, she pointed out that India’s approach to negotiations is based on a deep and unflinching commitment to address development issues in the trade negotiations.

During her visit, Sitharaman also met the Director General (DG), WTO, and discussed about the kind of outcomes India would like to see at the upcoming Eleventh Ministerial Conference of the WTO (MC11).

She particularly stressed that the MC11 outcomes must include a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security purposes (PSH) on which there is a Ministerial mandate.

She urged DG, WTO to follow up vigorously to support the efforts to reach finality on PSH and the agricultural Special Safeguard Mechanism.

She stressed that any attempts at seeking outcomes on new issues such as e-commerce and investment facilitation should not be at the cost of other long pending issues on the agenda of the Doha Round.