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.
- 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.