Trade Policy

  • Have the Building Blocks Been Put in Place for an Indo-US Pact on Bilateral Trade?
    The Wire, October 02, 2019
    With $142 billion and rapidly growing bilateral trade, expectations about a bilateral trade pact between the US and India have been soaring high.
  • The art of deploying diplomacy to advance our trade interests
    Live Mint, September 23, 2019
    Trade and diplomatic initiatives need to complement each other for a country to leverage the potential of its economy.
  • The World Trade Organization could still prove itself effective
    Live Mint, August 21, 2019
    If Trump was really worried about China, it would make sense for him to help alternate and trusted partners like India to come up with global supply and value chains.
  • Trump’s Trade Wars Are a Trap, Not a Solution
    The Wire, August 12, 2019
    If Trump was really worried about China, it would make sense for him to help alternate and trusted partners like India to come up with global supply and value chains.
  • Suresh Prabhu to Piyush Goyal: What’s the Way Forward for Trade and Industry?
    The Wire, June 02, 2019
    He decision to drop former commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu from the new Union cabinet is inexplicable. He was thought of as one of the more hard-working ministers of the first Modi government.
  • Trump Must Avoid Trade Wars to Make America Great Again
    The Wire, April 23, 2019
    After the Iran oil waiver controversy, it has become even more important for Washington to opt for less damaging diplomatic means to resolve its president’s trade concerns.
  • Leveraging India’s trade competitiveness
    Asian Age, February 14, 2019
    Job creation and farmers’ welfare are among the key contemporary challenges of our country. Thanks to the “Make in India” campaign, more than 120 new manufacturing units have created about 4,50,000 jobs in the mobile phone industry over the past four years. Similarly, a new agriculture export policy envisages the establishment of agro-specific zones to enable farmers to gain from international markets.
  • What Stops India From Being Asia’s Next Big Factory?
    The Wire, November 22, 2018
    The US-China trade war is disrupting the functioning of global value chains (GVCs) that spread across East Asia, North America and West Europe.

  • Trump’s Trade Wars Are Starting to Backfire
    The Wire, September 13, 2018
    It will be difficult for the US president to prove that his trade policies are not about hurting but safeguarding the interests of American companies, farmers, workers and consumers on domestic as well as global fronts.
  • Don’t strangle Indian e-commerce
    Live Mint, August 27, 2018
    E-commerce in India is facing huge buoyancy, both in terms of the market and policy space. In terms of the market, the majority investment in Flipkart by US retail giant Walmart, and a substantial proposed investment by Alibaba in Reliance Retail recently made news.
  • For Trade Talks, Suresh Prabhu Must Go to the US With Sleeves Rolled Up
    The Wire, June 08, 2018
    India’s trade minister, Suresh Prabhu, will next week be visiting the United States to discuss inter alia bilateral trade issues, as his last meeting on the joint Trade Policy Forum (TPF) did not result in a sound outcome.
  • India Has Struggled to Link its Defence Needs to Strategic Goals
    The Wire, May 12, 2018
    There has been a rapid change in geopolitical constellations around the world. Citadels of free trade have turned protectionist and the previously more-inward looking nations are now advocating for integrated global commerce and cooperation. Disruption has become the keyword and managing it, a challenge.
  • Time to focus on Indo-US bilateral trade
    Live Mint, May 07, 2018
    If we have to progress, we need markets for our goods and services and access to big markets. Therefore, our policymakers have inter alia agreed on the Indo-US “strategic partnership” to enhance bilateral trade from the present volume of $120 billion a year to $500 billion.
  • India must lead WTO reform
    The Week, April 08, 2018
    Over the last couple of weeks, the US has launched a number of trade missives, which can further undermine the already beleaguered global trading system.
  • Why India should Buttress WTO
    Business Today, April 05, 2018
    The world is witnessing a dirty trade war with countries, including the US and India, adopting nonsensical protectionist tariffs.
  • Trade in an increasingly protectionist world
    Live Mint, March 07, 2018
    The rhetoric against globalization is disturbingly shifting away from strengthening domestic industry through necessary economic reforms to shielding it from global competition. This is not a good sign.
  • What Would a India-US Free Trade Agreement Look Like?
    The Wire, January 25, 2018
    If India has to realise the imperative of creating new jobs, the country’s manufacturing base needs to be expanded with a clear trade strategy in mind. The world economy is on the upswing, offering better potential for India’s exports. Faced with a World Trade Organisation (WTO) losing its animal spirits, India needs bilateral trade deals with countries with big markets such as the US.
  • Failure of Latest WTO Summit Reveals an Alarming Global Indifference to Multilateralism
    The Wire, December 25, 2017
    Past WTO conferences have also ended unsuccessfully. This, however, was the first time member countries didn’t even try to make it a success.
  • Trade and industrial policy must converge
    Live Mint, November 27, 2017
    The government should prioritize the design of industrial policies that benefit the country from integrating with global value chains.
  • A unique opportunity with the PMEAC
    Live Mint, November 03, 2017
    A closer look at the functions of the CEA and NITI Aayog points to a niche which the PMEAC can create for itself.
  • Place Small and Medium Businesses at the Centre of India’s Export Strategy
    The Wire, October 11, 2017
    Overcoming the problems of GST obstacles, a strong rupee and various trade facilitation needs will help our MSMEs occupy the space being vacated by China and other southeast Asian countries.
  • It’s Crash Intervention Time for Suresh Prabhu
    The Wire, September 18, 2017
    India aims to double the value of exports to $900 billion by 2019. Given sluggish global demand and our own export slump, there is no way that this objective can be achieved.
  • India’s Lacklustre Approach Towards International Trade
    The Wire, August 13, 2017
    From alarming agricultural imports to losing Africa, India needs to aggressively protect its trade interests and explicitly link it to our foreign and domestic goals.
  • The Trump Presidency and the Future of Indo-US Relations
    Huffington Post, April 25, 2017
    Less than three months into Donald Trump’s tenure as President of the United States.
  • India’s Place in an Uncertain Trump Presidency
    The Wire, February 12, 2017
    While Indo-US relations will likely remain the same, an indirect in terms of trade, climate change and security should be watched for.
  • Bilateral investment pacts haven’t worked
    The Hindu Business Line, August 24, 2016
    Globally, the international investment agreement (IIA) regime is undergoing a change and the developments in India are no exception. India has decided to terminate about 57 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) whose initial duration has expired, or is soon to expire, and issue joint statements for the ones in force.
  • UNCTAD: Investing in development
    Asian Age, August 05, 2016
    The world is heading towards increasingly uncertain times. Gains from liberalisation are being doubted, protectionism is becoming the rhetoric, inequality is on the rise and value offered by multilateral systems is being questioned.
  • India-US trade: give some, take some
    Livemint, July 29, 2016
    Both India and the US must differentiate between core and non-core issues to make way for trade-offs for a mutually beneficial deal
    India and the US have long shared democratic values, a vibrant multicultural fabric, entrepreneurial spirit and economic interests. Despite Indo-US trade being worth more than $100 billion today, their economic relations are facing a bit of a headwind. Given the changing geo-economic calculus in the world, a strong and renewed commitment between India and the US is vital. Arguably, a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) would enhance the political commitment, reduce uncertainties and boost the investment climate. Albeit, like any other international agreement, both must be willing to give some and take some.
  • Don’t blame global crisis for exports slide
    The Hindu Business Line, April 1, 2016
    India can scale up on the Ease of Doing Business metric only if States, along with the Centre, pull themselves up. India’s distorted factor markets, poor infrastructure and an overvalued currency have played a major role in this decline. Last year on this day, the government of India had released the new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), 2015-20. It was, by no means, a Fools Day prank. It laid a foolproof plan to enhance India’s trade ecosystem and competitiveness.
  • Budgeting for structural reforms
    The Hindu BusinessLine, Mach 17, 2016
    Much has been written about the 2016 Budget, mainly in praise and some critical. The Budget is generally considered the economic policy statement of the government. Hence, by not speaking about structural reforms, we have lost some ground to grow.
  • India’s Solar Panel Dispute: A Need To Look Within
    thewire.in, March 15, 2016
    While the WTO decision on India’s solar programme may have been a hit to the ‘Make in India’ campaign, it is difficult to state that the country’s domestic content requirements were the least trade-restrictive alternative to achieve the goal of clean energy.
  • Lakshman rekha for India’s trade talks
    The Hindu Business Line, March 04, 2016
    For reasons of fiscal impact and protection to key sectors, the average tariff of 15 per cent can’t be lowered in a hurry
    Much debate has taken place on whether India has gained or lost in its Preferential Trade Agreements. The Finance Ministry’s Chief Economic Adviser, Arvind Subramanian, a well known economist, was tasked to review the situation. In the latest Economic Survey, he says that we are not doing badly in trade with our PTA partners as compared to non-PTA partners. The survey does touch upon the issue of tariffs, which is a crucial ingredient in how our trade flows would roll out..
  • The road after Nairobi ministerial
    The Hindu Business Line, January 07, 2016
    Much has been written and said about the Nairobi meeting of the WTO criticising India’s trade and industry minister, Nirmala Sitharaman. She could not have done better than what she did for our poor farmers.
    We all knew very well that the rich had already expressed their desire to shut down the excruciating and inconclusive 14-year long Doha Round much before landing in Nairobi, and they succeeded despite objections by many poor countries.
  • Trading blows, war continues: How India fares at WTO yet to be decided
    The Economic Times, December 22, 2015
    After five days of intense negotiations, 162 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) came to a deal last Saturday in Nairobi to push the agenda, and crucially reassert its relevance. The Indian delegation, led by commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman, succeeded in getting a balanced deal, which will protect the interests of developing country farmers, as well as advance the quest for global equity.
  • WTO Doha Round issues: Time to pull the plug
    The Financial Express, Dhaka and Modern Ghana, November 21, 2015
    With the ensuing Nairobi Ministerial of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Director General of the WTO, Roberto Azevêdo, said at a recent meeting of trade ministers from the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States in Brussels, that while there remains agreement that the Doha Round core issues such as agriculture, market access and services remain on the negotiating agenda, there is a clear divergence among members on how these negotiations should take place — whether under the present Doha framework or whether under some new architecture.
  • Will States do their BIT?
    The Hindu Business Line, June 26, 2015
    While launching the Make in India campaign, the Prime Minister had also unveiled ‘Team India’ — including the Prime Minister and chief ministers — to work in sync for development. This has become pivotal in economic decision making at the Centre, and its imprint can be seen in almost every policy. That said, since States are pursuing investment they are also competing in improving the ‘doing business’ indicators furiously. And many are engaging in economic paradiplomacy — CMs are travelling abroad to woo investors. However, attracting investment is also tied up with the Centre’s policies — international agreements, for protection measures through its exclusive power to do so.
  • Resource-rich Mongolia has much to offer India
    The Asian Age, May 16, 2015
    A new era is expected to usher in stronger India-Mongolia ties when for the first time an Indian Prime Minister sets his foot in Ulaanbaatar on May 17. Mongolia is a country with which India shares centuries-old cultural and historical linkages. The relationship was renewed in the mid-20th century when the two countries reciprocated diplomatic relations in 1955. Since then there has been a steady but sluggish improvement in the strategic dimensions of our bilateral relationship including trade and economic cooperation among others.
  • The new trade order
    Business Standard, May 02, 2015
    One of the two mega regional trade and investment agreements being negotiated by the US will soon reach the winning post, by, say, the end of the year. The US Congress might soon give “fast-track authority” to the US President to sign on the dotted line of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade and investment agreement covering 12 countries. The other big one is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and the European Union, which will take a longer time. That said, the TPP becoming a reality in the Asia-Pacific region would have many implications for India, not only in tariff preferences but also higher standards.
  • Towards a smarter trade policy
    The Asian Age, April 17, 2015
    The new foreign trade policy (FTP) of India, 2015-20, is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, result-oriented and time-bound. It is not overambitious and is a welcome departure from its earlier avatars for at least four reasons First, for the first time, a government policy document spelt out its intention to follow a “whole-of-government” approach, which is public service agencies working across portfolio boundaries to achieve a shared goal and an integrated response to particular issues. One of the pitfalls of our governance system is that departments love to work in silos protecting their own turfs and, worse, sometimes our right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.
  • Feel free to trade
    The Asian Age, September 25, 2014
    Trade is not just about transactions between two or more parties. It is more about networking and building relationships. They help create positive externalities, resulting in low transaction costs. Trade is then possible even under adverse conditions. Free trade agreements help in better networking and relationship-building. This is one of the major reasons behind the rise of free trade agreements (FTAs) in the recent past…India, too, has signed a large number of FTAs and many more are under negotiation. However, many studies have shown that India is yet to reap optimal benefits from such agreements.
  • Indo-Norwegian Trade and Investment Cooperation: Enlarge its Scope and Coverage
    Norwegian Embassy.org.in, July 2014
    This is the right time for India and Norway to further develop, intensify and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in areas of complementary interests through strategic use of their expertise, resources and locations. Knowledge sharing for sustainable development should be one of the most important pillars of this cooperation. As a key and strategic step towards that direction, they must conclude the negotiations of India- European Free Trade Area (EFTA) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with a built-in agenda for reviewing its implementation and enlarging its scope and coverage.
  • Confusion galore on India and WTO
    Livemint, July 31, 2014
    India’s principled stand seeking parallel progress on trade facilitation and food security agreements at the WTO is a right step. The history of trade negotiations shows rich countries push their agenda and indulge in dragging issues of poor countries to tire them out by just talk and talk. In the run up to the WTO ministerial at Bali in December, the three issues were intertwined. At Bali, India ensured that public stockholding of food does not lose its spot in the way forward for the accord. It was adopted as one of the priority items of the long-drawn Doha Round. Trade facilitation (TF) and LDC (least developed country) concerns were the two others.
  • India: new trade policy for a new government
    East Asia Forum, May 02, 2014
    In India, 150 million new and better jobs need to be created, lest the country’s perceived demographic dividend fails to become a reality and, instead, becomes a burden. To achieve this, and provide much-needed lift for the economy, India can follow a combination of consumption-, investment- and trade-led growth. This is because of the size of its domestic market, investment requirements, and increasing outward-orientation. Trade is already no small part of the economy — over the last five years merchandise trade as a percentage of GDP is more than 40 percent and is growing steadily.
  • Trade Reform: Regulatory and Policy Scenario since 2004
    NewsYaps, April 23, 2014
    There is a need to adopt a more inclusive trade policy by taking into account investment concerns and other major objectives of the National Manufacturing Policy of India, producer and consumer welfare, and other socio-economic objectives of India’s development. That would help the Foreign Trade Policy of India to better achieve its major objectives of export promotion as well as employment generation.
  • WTO AT BALI: Multilateralism versus Regionalism in Trade
    The Economic Times, December 23, 2013
    India’s food security concerns are addressed. The US was recalcitrant. It has little appetite for the DDA and has, therefore, been pursuing two mega regional deals. The US wanted the accord on trade facilitation badly. However, trade facilitation is a win-win deal and has been welcomed by all. This deal is expected to generate about US$1tn gain to all countries, of which most will accrue to the developing world. In the end, multilateralism stood its ground, and that is the best way forward for all countries. The scene will now shift to Geneva, where negotiators will work out the nuts and bolts of what they have agreed at Bali, and tackle the unfinished agenda of the DDA over 2014 and beyond.
  • Multilateralism vs regionalism
    The News, Pakistan, December 22, 2013
    It was touch and go, over a period of six intense days at Bali early December. In the end, the WTO’s Bali ministerial conference delivered a trade liberalisation package – the first ever deal that the WTO could craft ever since it came into being in 1995. This came about against the backdrop of a frustrating 12-year stalemated Doha Development Agenda (DDA) and a spaghetti bowl of regional trade agreements being pursued widely. Thus, the spirit of multilateralism prevailed. In the end, multilateralism stood its ground, which is the best way forward for all. The scene will now shift to Geneva, where negotiators will work out the nuts and bolts of what they have agreed at Bali, and tackle the unfinished agenda of the DDA over 2014 and beyond.
  • Ending Bali on a high
    The Hindu Business Line, December 17, 2013
    After months of intense negotiations in Geneva culminating in a ministerial conference, trade ministers finally delivered the Bali package. As India’s Commerce Minister, Anand Sharma, said: “A historic day for the WTO. India’s food security concerns are addressed.” Despite intense political pressure, India stood its ground and helped the global trade community deliver a ‘balanced’ package incorporating a number of development issues. It was a deal limited to three specific issues of the Doha development agenda, being negotiated since 2001.
  • Food for thought at Bali
    The Hindu Business Line, September 04, 2013
    As we draw closer to the ninth ministerial conference (MC9) of the World Trade Organisation to be held in Bali, Indonesia, there is growing optimism that members may finally be able to strike a deal in December.Although the proposed ‘small package’ remains a far cry from the conclusion of the protracted Doha development round, it could provide the impetus for members to finally break through the impasse that has characterised these talks since their breakdown in 2008.Having previously been opposed to the idea of an early agreement package, India now supports an early outcome. But it is of the view that if a small package is to be the result of the deliberations in Bali, it is imperative that development be at the core of all negotiations.
  • Deadlock on global trade deal needs to be resolved
    Business Daily, May 16, 2013
    Faced with the conundrum of a deadlocked Doha Round at the World Trade Organization, fragmentation due to multiplying preferential trade agreements and the global financial crises, Pascal Lamy, outgoing WTO Director General, established a high level panel of stakeholders to ideate on the future of the international trading system. It was expectedly controversial because it articulated several subjects that had otherwise been contentious, such as investment and competition. Other than that, it called for revisiting flexibility and reciprocity which is not acceptable to a large number of poor countries, including India.
  • Whither, global trading system?
    Business Line, May 14, 2013
    The new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Roberto Carvalho de Azevedo, will face a Sisyphean task in breathing life into the comatose Doha Round that has been under negotiations since its official launch in November 2011. The talks have failed to make much progress, made worse by fragmentation due to a spaghetti bowl of preferential trade agreements (PTA), many of which have been signed or are under construction. The international community’s challenge now is to resurrect trade multilateralism, because PTAs are not the best option; the bigger partners often get the better of the smaller parties in these treaties. That is why multilateralism needs to be resuscitated. But that calls for a fresh approach.
  • The WTO needed now more than ever
    Global Briefing Magazine, April 2012
    WTO approval of new measures in favour of the least developed countries has shown a way forward, both through the haze of global economic uncertainty and against the risks of increasing protectionism
  • Preventing failure of Doha Development Agenda
    Shanghai Daily, August 02, 2011
    Doha Round: the best tool
    The News, Pakistan, July 31, 2011
    Doha Round is best aid for trade tool
    The Financial Express, Bangladesh, July 25, 2011
    Doha Round is best aid for trade tool; Pascal Lamy must mobilise members to negotiation table
    Economic Times, July 25, 2011
    One of the critical issues in the international trading system is the Aid-for-Trade (AFT) programme which is to help poor countries to enable them to access gains from trade liberalisation through financial and technical assistance as a standalone programme without mixing it with other aid programmes. The elaborate third review conference on AFT was organised at Geneva. What was sadly not mentioned in the meeting was that the Doha Development Agenda which is the best way forward to assist the poor to trade their way out of poverty.
  • Get Plan B Working for Doha
    The Economic Times, May 30, 2011
    Osama bin Laden’s death is an opportunity to close the Doha deal, argued the hugely optimistic Jagdish Bhagwati in the Financial Times. In fact, the Doha Round was launched soon after the 9/11 tragedy to send a message to the world, that we are together and will not be fazed by the horrendous attack on the symbolic World Trade Center in New York about 10 years ago. “By a strange irony, Bin Laden’s assassination nearly 10 years later presents an opportunity to close the Round, again in affirmation of the same values…”.
  • Aspirations still trail behind grievances
    Financial Times, May 19, 2011
    Until the advent of the British Raj, India had a healthy trade surplus with the rest of the world. Its trade openness was commensurate with its share in global trade. Today, India is witnessing a revival of this phenomenon, as shown by the huge growth from a less than one percent share of international trade in the early 1990s to more than three percent
  • History repeated itself at Cancun
    The Economic Times, January 17, 2011
    Global negotiations are not an easy task. For that matter, every negotiation requires maturity of understanding of what one party will give and what the other party is able to accept. In negotiations that involve many parties and contentious international issues such as trade or climate change, things become much more complex and need to be approached on an incremental basis.
  • India’s role in Doha negotiations
    The News, Pakistan, November 28, 2010
    India willing to close the Doha Round
    The Financial Express, Bangladesh, November 21, 2010
    India Willing to Close Doha Round
    The Economic Times, November 17, 2010
    The jury is still out whether the Doha Round of the WTO is a development round or not, observed the Brazilian and US ambassadors at a recent workshop on the Doha Round of trade negotiations held in Geneva, on November 02, 2010. At the concluding session moderated by WTO Director General Pascal Lamy, ambassadors from China, India and EU asserted that this is a development round.
  • Doha Round failure not an option for economic recovery
    Shanghai Daily, China, April 06, 2010
    The imperative of concluding the Doha Round could not have been captured better by a recent remark by WTO Director General Pascal Lamy. The moot question is why countries have not been able to utilize this readiness to invest political capital to conclude the Doha Round and take the world economy to higher levels of well-being and productivity. The conclusion of the Doha Round in 2010 is an imperative for success on many fronts – global welfare reaching a new high through better exploitation of comparative advantages of countries and the reversal of decline in faith in trade as an engine of growth.
  • Doha Round at crossroads
    The Economic Times, April 16, 2010 & The News, Pakistan, March 28, 2010
    “The Doha Round is not an island in a sea of alternative opportunities — failure on Doha would spill over into other present and future cooperation efforts, and not only in the trade policy domain. In our joined-up world, countries simply cannot go their own way and disregard the costs of neglecting international cooperation,” remarked the WTO Director General, Pascal Lamy in a recent meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica. The imperative of concluding the Doha Round could not have been captured better.
  • Lessons from Copenhagen for Doha
    The Economic Times, March 15, 2010; Shanghai Daily, China & The Financial Express, Bangladesh, January 08, 2010
    Much has been written about the recently concluded Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change which will continue to reverberate. Copenhagen was not supposed to be the be all and end all on environmental matters. It was a part of a process and even if it disappointed many, it remains a significant second best milestone, which will determine the future of climate change negotiations. The debate has certainly shifted from ‘poverty is the biggest polluter’ to ‘justice for the poor victims of pollution by others’.
  • Copenhagen: A lot is at stake
    The News, Pakistan, December 13, 2009
    Copenhagen promises to be a departure from previous rounds of multilateral negotiations, both trade and climate, in many ways. Even before the curtain went up on these talks, the hosts, Denmark did away with any pretence of neutrality. In fact, it is leading the developed country charge on the emerging nations by asking them to accept binding cuts on emissions.
  • State-business relations: now and then
    The Financial Express, November 29, 2009
    A chronological flip across the pages of India’s modern business history clearly demonstrates the evolution of big business, especially its relationship with the state. In general, the finding is that state-business relations have been characterised by an increase in intensity over time. A study by the Consortium for Improving Institutions for Pro-Poor Growth, to which CUTS is a major contributor, measures the intensity/effectiveness of state-business relations on the basis of primary survey data through an index which takes into account the organisation of business associations, their interactions with the government as well as anti-competitive collusion, if any.
  • Doha and Copenhagen – The Linkages
    The Financial Express, Bangladesh, November 09, 2009
    At a recent conference on WTO and Doha Round at Wilton Park in UK, many were taken aback by the candid comments of Gareth Thomas, the UK minister of state for international development, expressing frustration over the lack of movement by the US on the WTO agenda. He was only reflecting what the whole world feels. The Round is in the intensive care unit and the main protagonist, the US, has not got its act together on international trade issues.
  • Climate: Don’t shoot the first mover
    The Economic Times, October 28, 2009
    As an emerging power, India should also assume the responsibility of leading by example in climate issues. The resulting moral pressure on the rich to clean up their act is sure to have a greater impact than expressions of resolve to not compromise, which have had ‘zero success’ in mitigating climate change. After all, the impacts of climate change through decreased agricultural yield, floods, droughts and desertification will be felt mostly in the tropical zone, and therefore on India, China and their neighbours. To say that India should not innovate or adjust its negotiating stance is probably sheer folly.
  • Who does not want to Conclude the Doha Round?
    Business Daily, Africa, September 12, 2009 &
    The Economic Times September 01, 2009
    If we examine the Doha Round problematique in the historical context, one can see that filibustering tactics are used to push the developing world into a corner to fight with their hand tied behind their backs. In each case the poor were on the defensive. The rich never realised that a win-lose outcome cannot lead to any conclusion. One only hopes that the Delhi meeting addresses these fundamental issues, otherwise conclusion of the Doha Round will remain an elusive goal.
  • Time for WTO to Crack the Whip over Trade Protectionism
    Sanghai Daily, China, August 27, 2009
    It is high time the World Trade Organisation used its whip, instead of its whistle, against unfair use of trade defence measures before the onslaught of protectionism escalates into fully-fledged trade wars. In the face of the enduring economic crisis, virtually every country, other than poor ones, is backtracking to protectionism. Given the perception that trade defence measures built into its rule-based system are increasingly being misused as an excuse for protectionist measures, it may be unfair to blame the multilateral trade body for not acting.
  • Time to Rethink Trade Defence Mechanisms
    The Financial Express, August 20, 2009
    In the face of the enduring economic crisis, virtually every country, other than the poor ones, is backtracking to protectionism. In the name of shielding the domestic economy from being robbed of jobs, governments of developed and developing countries alike are resorting to populist autarkic policies. With this rat race for protection, the global free trade regime will gradually be pulled back into the vortex of trade barriers from which it has been struggling hard to recover. It is time for the WTO to bear on such measures with a greater voice.
  • Extend capacities, not subsidies
    The Financial Express, June 30, 2009
    Stop-gap measures such as subsidies and exchange rate management to enhance the marketability of exports, without addressing core issues of efficiency and competitiveness cannot be used repeatedly—medicine that suppresses the symptoms of the disease, without targeting its root cause can ruin the health of the system in the long run.
  • No end in sight
    The Financial Express, April 19, 2009
    One huge disappointment of the April 2 G-20 summit in London is the backtracking on the resolve to reach a conclusion of the Doha round of trade talks. On the other hand there was firmer resolve on taking measures to combat the adverse consequences of financial crisis, including providing a US$250bn package for trade finance. It is quite understandable why the Doha round is getting a short-shrift from the G-20 leaders. The WTO chief, Pascal Lamy is not the lone voice in this wilderness, but like many of us, he too needs to be optimistic on the Doha round.
  • Multilateralism is the cure
    The Financial Express, March 22, 2009
    The current global crisis needs a solid global response — the protectionist response is definitely the wrong one. Reviving the Doha Round constitutes an important element of the needed response and hopefully the next G-20 meeting in London on April 02, 2009 will try and move it forward. Another proposal doing the rounds is that countries should notify the WTO about all protectionist measures with a plan to roll them back within two years. Commerce Minister, Kamal Nath, thinks that this proposal makes sense, but who will bell the cat.

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