Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu today said India will host a meeting of about 40 WTO members in February to muster support for food security and other issues.
“We are trying to call a meeting of almost 30-40 countries (WTO ministerial) in Delhi in February just to help the multilateral process,” Prabhu said here at an event organised by the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC). He, however, did not give details of the meeting.
The proposed meeting would be in the the backdrop of developed nations forming groupings to prepare the ground for pushing investment facilitation, preparing rules for e- commerce, promoting gender equality and reducing subsidy on fisheries with a view to curbing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
India has been keenly pushing agriculture issues at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). It has also been raising its voice against bringing new issues, especially those which are not directly linked to trade, on the negotiating table.
On Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union, Prabhu said, he had a meeting with the EU minister to discuss various issues. “When we talk of FTA there are always trade-offs…as a country we have to find how a trade-off can benefit us,” he said.
EU is great market for India for garments, which is an employment generating sector, the minister said, adding that the government is preparing a standard operating procedure for any new FTA to be entered. Besides the EU, he said, India is also in discussion with Canada and Australia for the FTA.
Speaking at the same event, Textile Minister Smriti Irani said the department will do a lot in the coming year for the sector. She said skilling is another focus for the government and assured all support to garment manufacturers.