Business Standard | 12 October 2021
Piyush Goyal pushes for stronger trade ties at G20 ministerial meet
by Shreya Nandi
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from South Korea, Australia, South Africa, the US, Brazil, China, and the European Union, among others, at the G20 ministerial meeting in Sorrento, Italy, to give more impetus to trade ties with these nations.
He also met trade ministers of the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Canada, and Mexico, as well as the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala one-on-one. The minister met with nearly 15 ministers to advance India’s trade position and negotiated bilateral and multilateral agreements, a senior government official said.
Goyal made a renewed pitch for a Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver on Covid-19 vaccines at the meeting and put forth the position that India is working towards the success of the upcoming WTO ministerial Conference in November-end. Historical wrongs against developing countries must be corrected rather than being carried over, was the message that Goyal is learnt to have sent.
Last year, India and South Africa had submitted a joint proposal for waiving some sections of the TRIPS agreement, including copyrights, patents, to help more countries, especially middle and low-income nations, to access vaccines.
The minister is scheduled to speak in a session on Wednesday.
The meeting comes at a time when India is trying to ink free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries such as Australia, UK, EU, and UAE. India will take forward the FTA talks with the newly elected government in Canada and accelerate existing FTA review with South Korea.
Besides, India has also set an ambitious export target of $400 billion for the current fiscal and $400-450 billion for next fiscal.
“The other objectives of the meeting will include pitching India as the most trusted global trading partner, building robust supply chains and urging other countries to invest in India,” the official cited above said.