WTO calls for united action to respond to U.S. trade protectionism

Global Trade War 50 Nations To Brainstorm At WTO Meet In Delhi

WTO member countries on raised concern over the U.S. administration's decision to increase import duty on aluminium and steel products, fearing escalation of trade war. "We will keep that channel open bilaterally as well as multilaterally, specially in the backdrop of what is happening globally on the trade front" Prabhu said, adding the meeting was the good beginning.

They, however, said the final stance would be known only after discussions on Tuesday. However, he said that in between what was important is to build confidence, bring countries together and to make each other understand why "we are saying a particular issue".

"The deliberations at the Informal WTO Ministerial Meeting would have been constructive and a robust conflict resolution mechanism is one of the key benefits of the WTO", said the Prime Minister.

"But still, as far as we are affected, we will definitely take it up with the USA with whom we have a huge trade surplus and we have a very good political relationship". While there was an overwhelming support to continue with the Doha Round, which focuses on farm, industrial tariffs and services trade, more than half the members were in favour of expanding the agenda to include talks on putting in place an global regime for investment facilitation and micro, small and medium enterprises.

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The informal WTO meeting, which saw participation from both USA and China, was called by India after talks had collapsed at the December ministerial conference in Buenos Aires as U.S. backtracked on its commitment to discuss agricultural issues, which is India's key area of interest.

While invitations for the meeting had been extended to approximately 50 nations, ministerial-level delegations have been confirmed from Russia, Indonesia, Singapore and South Africa. Trade tensions have increased in recent months with US President Donald trump targeting India, China and other countries.

Prabhu said India's food security concerns and issues related to agriculture were also discussed in the meeting.

The talks at the WTO's 11th ministerial conference collapsed after the USA went back on its commitment to find a permanent solution to the public food stockholding issue, a key matter for India.

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