Ministerial Conf Adopts India-Driven 5-Poing Action

The G20 Ministers agreed to continue to work constructively to ensure positive outcomes including on WTO reforms

NEW DELHI, Aug 25 (The CONNECT) – The G20 Trade and Investment Ministers today called for digitisation of all trade documents and focusing on improving the access to information for the MSMEs among member nations.

Led by  Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Textiles he G20 Trade and Investment Ministers’ meeting concluded today at Jaipur.

In his address to the G20 Ministers, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi emphasized that it is the Group’s responsibility to rebuild confidence in international trade and investment order. He stressed the need to build resilient and inclusive global value chains that can withstand future shocks and ensure higher participation of MSMEs in global trade. He also spoke about India’s firm belief in a rules-based, open, inclusive, multilateral trading system, with the WTO at its core.

In her keynote address, the Director General of the World Trade Organization, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala exhorted all the G20 Ministers to narrow down realistic deliverables for agreement at the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in early 2024.

In this regard, G20 Ministers reaffirmed the essential role of the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core. They reiterated their commitment to strengthening the rule making arm of the WTO and underscored the importance of the ongoing negotiations in the WTO. Notably, the G20 Ministers agreed to continue to work constructively to ensure positive outcomes including on WTO reform at the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13).

The Ministerial meet reached a groundbreaking consensus on five concrete and action-oriented deliverables as highlighted by Indian Minister Goyal. These have been adopted in the Outcome Document of Trade Ministerial Meeting held in Jaipur, an official press release said.

The first one being adoption of High-Level Principles on digitalization of trade documents wherein the G20 Ministers have enunciated 10 broad principles that comprehensively cover various dimensions of an effective transition to paperless trade. These principles will provide guidance to the countries in implementing measures related to the cross-border exchange of electronic trade-related data and documents, emphasizing the need for a secure interoperable and transparent paperless cross-border trade environment. Moreover, inclusivity has been prioritized as one of the principles, ensuring that such a transition accommodates businesses of all sizes.

G20 Ministers also issued a Jaipur Call for Action for enhancing access to information for MSMEs. The Ministers called upon the International Trade Center (ITC), Geneva to work on a detailed implementation plan, in consultation with UNCTAD and WTO, for upgradation of ITC’s Global Trade Helpdesk which would address the informational gaps faced by MSMEs.

The Ministers also endorsed a G20 Generic Mapping Framework for GVCs which contained key building blocks of data, analysis, and representation of GVC data. The framework also advocated to identify key dimensions to help evaluate the resilience of GVCs both at the sectoral and product levels. Moreover, guiding principles for collaboration to address the need for keeping critical GVCs resilient and robust were also enunciated in the framework.

G20 Ministers welcomed the voluntary sharing of best practices on Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for professional services and supported the development of a Presidency’s Compendium of best practices on MRAs for Professional Services. The compilation of good practices will spur successful entering into MRAs which will enable recognition of technical qualifications our doctors, nurses, lawyers, architect and other professionals by other countries. It will thus immensely help our professionals in providing their technical services across the world.

G20 Ministers acknowledged the importance of mutual dialogues to reduce regulatory divergences and associated trade costs and also to prevent unnecessary trade frictions, monitor trade and investment-related measures and solve existing irritants. G20 Ministers welcomed the Presidency’s suggestion to hold a G20 Standards Dialogue in 2023 that will bring together members, policymakers, regulators, standard-setting bodies and other stakeholders to discuss topics of common interest such as good regulatory practices and standards.

All the five outcomes received widespread support from the G20 Ministers.

Addressing the meeting yesterday, Goyal said that focus of G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial Meeting (TIMM) will be on easing barriers to international trade and investment; helping boost productivity and output and fostering economic growth and prosperity for all. TIMM focusses on formulating shared outcomes on issues related to the multilateral trading system, inclusive trade and ease of trade and business. He said that these issues have been deliberated upon in the four Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) Meetings held under India’s G20 Presidency. The Minister said that the meetings have aimed at formulating fair, inclusive and sustainable trade and trade related investment policies.