India at 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO

Contact Counsellor

India at 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO

  • In October 2020, India and South Africa proposed to temporarily suspend protection of IPR to increase production of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to overcome pandemic.
  • Opponents of the proposal - Germany, UK, Japan, Switzerland and the US.
  • India, which was on the losing side at the 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, needs to correct its course.

Advantage EU

  • EU made a counter-proposal to undermine proposal made by India and South Africa.
  • It provided simplification in certain procedural aspects of compulsory licensing in patent rules.
  • With this EU has important gains in two other areas:
  • WTO reform: EU sought to make fundamental changes to institutional architecture of WTO.
  • Environment: Negotiations on issues related to trade and environment at WTO, an issue of concern for many developing countries.

No traction for India

  • Issue of permanent solution to public stockholding did not find mention in ministerial outcome.
  • India failed to secure right to raise revenues by taxing electronic transmissions.
  • In fisheries subsidies, it got two years for suitable regulatory mechanisms to monitor fish catch and reporting.
  • It secured temporary reprieve to provide subsidies for enhancing its fishing sector.


  • Path ahead for India at WTO is difficult. India’s negotiators need to learn lessons from dynamics at the MC12, and make course corrections.