Jun 10: The 12th BRICS Trade Ministers Meeting was held in virtual format on yesterday. Smt. Anupriya Patel, MoS for Commerce and Industry represented India. The intervention of the MoS mainly touched upon certain burning and relevant issues requiring attention.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalization has emerged as the key driver for global economic growth. Recognizing that Digital Economy is central to the promotion of innovation, pursuing entrepreneurial ventures, creation of jobs, efficiency in services, and importantly a marketplace for high-value technology-based products and solutions and the fact that almost half the world’s population does not have access to high-speed broadband and is hence deprived of the access to virtual platforms, telemedicine, distance education, and e-payments the MoS stressed upon making the digital revolution inclusive by creating an environment where nobody is left behind.
On supply chains, MoS mentioned that the supply chain disruptions, as a result of lockdowns, limited economic activities and economic slowdown has forced manufacturers everywhere to reassess their supply chains. The main point of supply chain resilience is minimizing negative impacts on people’s lives and the economy even in the event of supply chain disruptions caused by pandemics, natural disasters, or regional conflicts. In this context, the MOS highlighted the statement made by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi that Transparent, Trusted Sources and Timeframe is critical for improving global supply chain resilience which is imperative for trade revival.
While we are conscious of the climate change and the responsibility we have taken on ourselves through reduction of carbon footprint and preventing further degradation of the environment, we should be mindful that any measure taken to implement these should not be trade-restrictive, arbitrary, and discriminatory.
While acknowledging that trade should become the engine for reviving global growth, the MoS stated that there is no alternative to the rules-based multilateral trading system and that a strong commitment to the WTO rules is the only way forward. The WTO reforms must strengthen the fundamental principles of the WTO including consensus-based decision making, inclusivity, equitable, non-discrimination, and special and differential treatment.
For MC12 to be successful, the WTO members need to build trust among each other and repose confidence in the multilateral trading system. The decision on the matter of public stockholding for food security needs to be delivered in order to honor the mandate decided by the Ministers. The MoS emphasized that while we look forward to a fair, balanced, and equitable outcome in the Fisheries Subsidy Negotiationsin MC12, the principle of ‘Polluter Pays’ and ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibility’ should be applied. Moreover, it is imperative that the S&DT provisions continue to be relevant for developing countries. The MoS also emphasized the need for flexibility in order to make available vaccines, medicines, therapeutics, etc. to world citizens in a timely manner and at an affordable cost.
In conclusion, the MoS stated that as a human society, today, we occupy a very unique position in history. Our immediate actions will decide the future course of life on our planet, Mother Earth.
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