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Day 48 – Q 3.Examine the evolution of India’s stand in the WTO negotiations. What are the challenges being faced by India from the WTO members? Discuss.

3. Examine the evolution of India’s stand in the WTO negotiations. What are the challenges being faced by India from the WTO members? Discuss. 

विश्व व्यापार संगठन की वार्ताओं में भारत के रुख के विकास की जाँच करें। विश्व व्यापार संगठन के सदस्यों से भारत को क्या चुनौतियाँ मिल रही हैं? चर्चा करें।


India has been a WTO member since 1 January 1995 and a member of GATT since 8 July 1948. The Doha Round (2001) proffers a new approach to international trade in a pro development manner and sought to work around the issues that address the concerns of the developing countries in three areas (the “three pillars”): domestic support, market access, and export subsidies and related issues


Evolution of India’s stand in WTO negotiations:

  • Concern for food security: During the negotiations for WTO Agreement on Agriculture in 2001, India raised concerns over food security and flexibility that developing nations must have when it comes to providing subsidies to key farm inputs. Seventeen years have passed since then and countries like India are still waiting for a permanent solution on food security and public stock holding to arrive at the WTO.
  • Concern for rural development: India’s stance on agriculture at the WTO has always been somewhat defensive. It has maintained its demand for flexibilities to carry out with its measures of support for agriculture and rural development and therefore be exempt from any reduction commitments on these counts.
  • Safeguard mechanism: India demanded that developed countries must bring down their bound tariff rates, and suggested the creation of a separate safeguard mechanism, along the lines of SSG, for food security in developing countries.
  • Developed countries: India continued to emphasize on food security as a prime Non Trade Concern and wanted that any measures adopted for its poverty alleviation programmes, food security and other social objectives, be exempt from any reduction commitments, while it demanded that developed countries should cut back their domestic farm support below the de minimis levels
  • IPR: To extend protection under ‘geographical indication’ (GI) beyond wine and spirit, to other products and demanded restrictions on misappropriation of biological and genetic resources and traditional knowledge.
  • Service sector: By December 2005 had realised its potential gain from service trade liberalisation and took an aggressive stance. Noticeable shift in India’s stance at the WTO, but entirely within a neorealist framework driven by domestic imperatives.
  • One sided narrative: India concern over “a one-sided narrative” being advanced by major developed countries, especially the US that disregards “issues of importance and concern to developing countries. This erodes the core principles of consensus-based decision making, non-discrimination and Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT)

Challenges faced by India from the WTO members:

  • Many countries supported: A large majority of countries endorsed a joint proposal by India, South Africa, and seven other countries for reforming the World Trade Organization, in the face of existential threats to the survival of multilateral trading system.
  • USA: The United States severely opposed the joint proposal saying it will unravel the Uruguay Round agreements that established the WTO.
  • Norway: Other industrialized countries, particularly Norway, supported the joint initiative saying it offers a way-forward for strengthening the WTO in the face of a sustained assault on multilateral trading system.

Decline in role of WTO and rise of regional arrangements:

WTO was established to assure rule based global trade and commerce. But recent developments prove the weakening of WTO. India’s demand such as finalisation and implementation of Doha Developments, and a agreement for free services in line with FTA (Free trade agreement), etc.


India emphasizes on the Marrakesh Agreement, establishing the WTO recognizes that international trade is not an end in itself, but a means of contributing to certain objectives including ensuring that developing countries and LDCs secure a share in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development.”

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