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( 13 May 2019)
WTO Ministerial meeting of developing countries to be held in New Delhi

A WTO Ministerial meeting of developing countries is being hosted by India in New Delhi on 13-14 May 2019. Sixteen developing countries, Six Least Developed Countries (LDC)(Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Brazil, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda)and DG, WTO are participating in the meeting.

Ministers from Bangladesh, CAR and South Africa have confirmed their participation. Vice Ministers, senior officials and ambassadors willbe representing other countries.

Thetwo-daymeeting will be interactive in order to provide an opportunity to the Ministers to discuss various issues and the way forward. On the first day, there will be a meeting of senior officers of the participating countries followed by a dinner hosted by Union Minister of Commerce & Industry for the heads of delegations. On the 2nd day, the Ministerial Meeting will be held.

The meeting is being held at a timewhen the multilateral rule-based-trading system is facing serious and grave challenges. In the recent past, there have been increasingunilateral measures and counter measures by members, deadlock in key areas of negotiations and the impasse in the Appellate Body, which threaten the very existence of Dispute Settlement Mechanism of the WTO and impacts the position of the WTO as an effective multilateral organisation.The current situation has given rise to demands from various quarters to reform the WTO.

This meeting at New Delhi is an effort to bring together the developing countriesand Least Developed Countries on a platform for sharing common concerns on various issues affecting the WTO and work together to address these issues.

The two-day meeting also provides an opportunity to the developing countries and LDCs to build consensus on how to move forward on the WTO reforms, while preserving the fundamentals of the multilateral trading system enshrined in the WTO. The deliberations will aim at getting a direction on how to constructively engage on various issues in the WTO, both institutional and negotiating, in the run up to the Twelfth Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be held in Kazakhstan in June 2020.