WTO DG Calls for move Developing Country Leaders

·         No Indian in WTO Chairs

[ABS News Service/30.03.2024]

Emerging markets and developing countries need to take the lead in negotiations on reform of the World Trade Organization, according to Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

“The World Trade Organization’s most recent ministerial conference concluded with a few positive outcomes demonstrating that meaningful change is possible, though there were some disappointments. A successful agenda of reforms will require more members – particularly emerging markets and developing economies – to take the lead,” she wrote in an opinion piece published on 28th March.

These new tensions among developing countries were apparent in the discussions on digital commerce and agriculture, Ms. Okonjo-Iweala noted. “WTO members of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific group, totaling 62 countries, aligned with developed countries and some emerging markets in supporting the extension of the moratorium on e-commerce tariffs for electronic transmissions. Others, including Indonesia, India, and South Africa, opposed extending the moratorium, citing revenue losses for their governments and the unfair advantages they believe the moratorium confers on Big Tech companies.”

Given the dynamics that emerged at MC13, the DG wrote that while US leadership is still essential to the organization, “meaningful reform will require other members, including emerging markets and developing countries, to take the lead and help steer the organization – over which they clearly exert real influence, as was obvious in Abu Dhabi. It will also be crucial to work with developing countries to ensure that any proposed reforms provide the conditions they need to grow and prosper.”