Swadeshi Jagran Manch appointed as WTO chief ahead of 12th ministerial meeting
Ahead of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) on Sunday called on the head of the world body, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to protect the interests of India and other developing countries. In a letter to Okonjo-Iweala, affiliate RSS urged her to ensure that the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver is extended to medicines, therapeutics, diagnostics, disposables and to all types of equipment as well as vaccines used in the treatment of Covid, saying people in different parts of the world are still struggling for equitable access to these. He also urged the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ensure that the meeting reaches a permanent solution to the issue of public stockholding of grain for food security programs.
While the world has come to realize the importance of public stocks for food security over the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, poor countries still urgently need affordable food for the survival of their people, said the SJM. As member countries negotiate a fisheries subsidies agreement to eliminate subsidies to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as well as reduce subsidies to overfished stocks, the DLSU has urged the WTO chief to ensure that the interests of Indian small-scale fishermen and fishing activities in the country are safeguarded. The RSS body also called on the WTO director-general to ensure that the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions, which has existed since 1998, ends after the 12th ministerial meeting. “Through your esteemed office, we would like to draw the attention of ministers of WTO member countries to four important issues that are of particular importance to people in least-developed and developing countries,” said said the SJM in the letter, shared by its co-organizer Ashwani Mahajan.
These issues include requests to end a moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmission; Waiver of the TRIPS Agreement on Vaccines, Medicines, Therapeutic Products and Related Technologies for the Treatment of COVID-19; permanent solution to the peace clause in the agriculture agreement on public stockholding for food security and fisheries subsidies. A delegation from the SJM led by its co-organizer Mahajan is in Geneva where the 12th ministerial conference of the WTO is due to start on Sunday. Flagging the issue of the proposed TRIPS waiver for vaccines, drugs and consumables for the treatment of Covid, the RSS body said that although countries have agreed to text-based negotiations on this regard, the circulated text is far from useful for the purposes enshrined in the proposal made by India in 2020.
“It is regrettable that the proposal on the table is limited to the TRIPS waiver for the vaccine only and that too, limited to the import and export of the vaccine and that too with technical details deliberately designed to deny the implementation implementation of the TRIPS waiver even for vaccines”, said the “We do not understand why the text in circulation puts so many conditionalities”, said SJM, adding that “the proposal to destroy vaccines produced at the end of the duration of the derogation is a cruel joke on humanity”.
On food security and farmer survival, the DLSU said many years have passed since the first proposal for a permanent solution came from India and other G-33 countries, “who demanded essentially to move public stocks for food security to the Green Box”. “We call on you to use your good offices to ensure a deal that does not harm the food security of billions of people and also right historical wrongs in terms of subsidy classification,” the RSS body said in its letter. to the head of the WTO. On fisheries subsidies, the DLSU said there are differences among WTO member states on many key issues, including the definition of harmful subsidies and the definition of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. . – income, resource-poor or subsistence fishing or fishing-related activities in developing countries operating within a 12 nautical mile radius, with a five-year limit for fishing in the EEZ,” he said. -he declares.
The SJM said that while there should be no restrictions on support for small-scale fishermen, there is an “urgent need” to restrict offshore fishing organized by big business on the other hand to protect the environment. In favor of ending the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmission, the DLSU said the provision which has been going on since 1998 is against the interest of developing countries in general and India in particular. income generation,” he said. Imposing tariffs on electronic transmission will be the first condition for the success of a fourth industrial revolution, which will come through digital industrialization in developing countries, he said. The growing trend of digitizing more products, especially the growing percentage of 3D printing of manufactured goods, shows further losses in tariff revenue, the SJM added.
(With PTI inputs)