Why India boycotted Thailand's representative at WTO talks? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Why India boycotted Thailand's representative at WTO talks?

Feb 29, 2024 12:08 PM IST

Thai ambassador's statement was cheered upon by countries like the US, Canada and Australia.

A comment by Thailand's ambassador to WTO Pimchanok Vonkorpon Pitfield accusing India of using subsidised rice procured for the public distribution system for capturing the export market has created a diplomatic storm with the government lodging a protest against the statement and Indian negotiators refusing to participate in discussions where Thai representatives are present The Times of India reported on Thursday.

Delegates attend the 13th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi of February 26, 2025. (HT_PRINT)
Delegates attend the 13th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi of February 26, 2025. (HT_PRINT)

The Thai ambassador's statement came during the meeting of the World Trade Organisation in Abu Dhabi. It was cheered upon by countries like the US, Canada and Australia. Meanwhile, speaking at the meeting Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said, "India's stand is consistent, world needs to see who is blocking the issues and why WTO work is not going on smoothly. It shows India is a consensus builder, and we are playing an important role in this regard, but many countries are breaking the consensus."

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READ | India is consensus builder at WTO, but certain nations breaking that: Goyal

"India stands on strong principles of fair play, justice and wants to ensure that all decisions taken at the WTO are keeping in mind the best interests of India's farmers, India's fisherfolk and ensures that our work towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, ameliorating poverty, ensuring good quality of life and ease of living for the people of India, and promoting strong and speedy growth in our Amrit Kaal is promoted through the various decisions at the WTO," he added.

The 13th ministerial conference (MC) of the WTO commenced in Abu Dhabi on February 26 (Monday) to discuss issues such as agriculture and fisheries subsidies, dispute settlement and a moratorium on customs duty levied on e-commerce trade.

During the conference, India accused Washington of halting the progress of the trade body after the push led by the United States to reform the embattled dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organization caused divisions.

Meanwhile, addressing reporters on Wednesday, US trade representative Katherine Tai described dispute settlement reform as a "challenging issue," but noted that the atmosphere in the negotiating room at MC13 was "constructive, positive, and pragmatic." She acknowledged that there is still more work to be done.

At the previous WTO ministerial in 2022, member states made a commitment to establish a fully operational and effective dispute settlement system by 2024. The overall outcome of MC13 could only reaffirm this commitment, despite calls from some member states, including India, for more substantial progress.

(With agencies' inputs)

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