India suggests having discussions at WTO on role of e-commerce during Covid
India suggested convening a meeting under the aegis of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to discuss the role of e-commerce in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement delivered by India’s WTO Ambassador Brajendra Navnit at the February 23-24 General Council meeting, many members explained how e-commerce had helped their economies during the shutdowns. by the pandemic.
“India suggests holding a discussion on the role of e-commerce during the time of the pandemic… Within the borders of each country, there may have been positive examples. But, international e-commerce been a big part of being good to hear members’ experiences specifically related to cross-border trade,” he said.
He proposed that this agenda item be adopted by the General Council as a standing agenda item for each meeting.
India supported the rejuvenation of the work program on e-commerce.
The General Council, the supreme decision-making body of the WTO after the Ministerial Conference (MC), should now begin the process of convening the meetings of the work program and ensuring that the original mandate is respected, he added.
At the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in December 2015, WTO members adopted a decision on the work program on e-commerce.
Member countries reviewed the work program at almost every MC. They also agreed to continue the practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions until their next ministerial conference, but India has repeatedly called for consideration of issues related to the moratorium on customs duties. customs on e-commerce. Since 1998, the moratorium has been repeatedly extended by two years.
India also requested that the Council for Trade in Goods, the Council for Trade in Services, the Council for TRIPS and the Committee on Trade and Development take up discussions on e-commerce in accordance with their respective mandates as originally defined.
Regarding the proposed temporary waiver of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement to deal with the pandemic, Navnit said that time is definitely “not in our favor and my concern” is that wasting more time to take a decision will render the result “ineffective”.
Persistent vaccine inequality has resulted in new virus variants and strains that have had a devastating global impact not only on sustainable economic recovery, especially for developing countries, including LDCs (less developed countries), but has further eroded the efforts made so far by countries. in the form of vaccines.
“This further reinforces the need for a comprehensive testing, treatment and prevention strategy. Thus, the availability, accessibility and affordability of not only vaccines, but also therapies and diagnostics will remain crucial in the fight against COVID-19. illness,” he added.
India, along with other proponents, has engaged constructively in the discussions on the waiver proposal. India has urged for a comprehensive, balanced and meaningful response by the WTO to the pandemic, which will both enable members to deal with the current crisis and restore the credibility of this institution.
“It is unthinkable that a leading global organization like ours would fall short in the most extraordinary of circumstances,” he said.
The WTO is a 164-member multilateral body that sets rules for global exports and imports and adjudicates disputes between two or more countries on trade-related issues.
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