Talks on with 150 nations to reform WTO: Prabhu

Multilateral trading system is under stress, says Minister

Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday said he was in talks with at least 150 countries to work out the way forward for reforming the World Trade Organisation (WTO). He said that the multilateral trading system was under stress and a number of fresh trade-restrictive measures, which would affect global trade and economic growth, had surged. “It is necessary that we look at making the WTO improve further,” Mr. Prabhu said at a conference on a strategic alliance for the WTO and trade remedy laws. “The WTO has to change, and change for the better. We are preparing an agenda that does not exclude any country in the process of making the WTO better.” He said that he had personally met with 150 trade ministers to move a reformed WTO agenda forward. “I am getting a positive response from all concerned, including the Director General of WTO, in our endeavour to take all countries on-board.” “Expansion of global trade hinges on rules and processes determined by the WTO and unless global trade expands, national economies will not benefit,” he said. “It is important that all substantive issues that have been agreed to at the Doha and other trade rounds, as well as new issues that have cropped up, are addressed with a sense of urgency.”

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