Focus on services to push global trade: Prabhu to G-20 nations

Last Updated: Tue, Sep 18, 2018 20:12 hrs
Suresh Prabhu (Reuters image)

New Delhi: Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, who led the Indian delegation to Argentina last week for G-20 Trade Ministers Meeting (TMM), urged G-20 members to focus on services to enhance global trade, the government said on Tuesday.

The Ministers held a shared view that the global trade and economic situation was at a critical stage due to ongoing trade tensions, driven largely by protectionist measures by some countries. They resolved to enhance confidence in international trade.

"Indian Commerce and Industry Minister underlined that as developing countries and LDCs suffer consequential collateral damage due to trade conflicts, resolution of differences through dialogue between the parties should be promoted.

"He urged G-20 to change the narrative on trade by focusing on potential of services to enhance global trade, keeping in view that services contribute more than 50 per cent to the world GDP," the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

Endorsing India's commitment to the rule-based multilateral trading system, he called for collective action to revitalise the World Trade Organisation (WTO) without diluting its core principles of special and differential treatment, consensus building, inclusiveness and transparency.

Prabhu focussed on tackling non-tariff barriers like Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) that are more trade distorting than tariffs. He urged G-20 nations to support technology transfer, research, promotion of services and investment in agri businesses.

On the new industrial revolution, the ministers acknowledged the central role of digital technologies. Prabhu drew attention to the need for minimising technology disruptions and promoting distributive gains for the collective good of all countries.

Prabhu held 24 bilateral meetings with his counterpart Ministers and heads of delegation on the sidelines of the G-20 TMM with whom he exchanged views on ways to reform WTO and strengthen bilateral relations, the statement said.

The G-20 TMM deliberations will feed into the G-20 Leaders Declaration which will be adopted at the G-20 Summit on November 30 and December 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to participate.