Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal Urges Trust and Implementation in WTO Decisions.

Updated, Feb. 29. 2024. 8.55 A.M.

India’s Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal underscored the urgent need for rebuilding trust within the World Trade Organization and ensuring the effective implementation of its decisions at the 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi. Minister Goyal stressed the restoration of the Appellate Body, which has been inactive since December 2019, as a crucial step towards upholding the rules-based global trade order.

The non-functionality of the Appellate Body, attributed to the blocking of member appointments by the United States, has raised doubts about the credibility of the WTO and its ability to resolve trade disputes. Minister Goyal reiterated India’s stance on the necessity of a robust dispute settlement system, emphasizing that it is essential for maintaining fairness, predictability, and effectiveness in international trade. India recalled the commitment of WTO Members of the 12th Ministerial Conference to conduct discussions with the view to having a fully and well-functioning dispute settlement system accessible to all Members by 2024.

India reiterated its long-standing position that a credible and reliable WTO DS system is the bedrock of an equitable, effective, secure, and predictable multilateral trading system. India emphasized that the outcome of any reform process should provide for the restoration of the Appellate Body, which remains a top-most priority for India.

The Minister also emphasized India’s commitment to principles of fair play and justice, stressing the importance of ensuring that all decisions made at the WTO prioritize the best interests of India’s farmers and fisherfolk. He highlighted the need for these decisions to align with Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on alleviating poverty, enhancing the quality of life, and improving the ease of living for all Indians. Additionally, the Minister emphasized the goal of fostering strong and rapid growth in the ‘Amrit Kaal,’ emphasizing that this objective should guide the various decisions made within the WTO.