WTO office
The World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, July 26, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo)

Chinese and South African authorities will support India's proposal to safeguard the right of special provisions for developing economies that have been challenged by the United States. According to the Economic Times, an official from India familiar with details of the issue said that South Africa and China are excited about their proposal and the meeting.

India believes that the collapse of the appellate body of the WTO's dispute settlement system and the reform agenda promoted by some developed economies could harm the interest of developing nations.

India is promoting the amendment of regulations on unilateral action by members on trade issues. The leaders will meet on a two-day ministerial meeting starting on Monday in New Delhi to discuss the topic.

The source said that India plans to modify the proposal as per other countries if necessary. According to the official, Robert Davies, South Africa's Trade and Industry Minister, and a 14-member delegation from China headed by Ren Hongbin, China's Assistant Minister of Commerce, will attend the meeting.

The comment of the official came before the next G-20 summit scheduled in late June in the Japanese city of Osaka.

The special and differential treatment (S&DT) plans to grant the emerging economies longer periods in implementing agreements and commitments and in implementing measures that will boost trade opportunities.

The provisions are aimed at protecting the interest of emerging nations in the international trade as it increases their capacity to handle a dispute and as they implement technical standards.

The official said that they want to have developed through S&DT as the core of WTO reform, along with appellate body appointments and they will also discuss ways to address asymmetries in various global trade agreements, especially on agriculture.

 Recently, the United States proposed to withdraw the special rights and exemptions of emerging nations that are members of the Organization for Economic and Development (OECD), G20 Group. The members of the group were defined by the World Bank as "high income" states or nations that account for not less than 0.5 percent of global commerce trade.

India's Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said that the logjam in the appellate body is a serious threat to the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO and the implementation function of the organization.

He emphasized that LDCs and developing countries like India will face more harm because of the impasse over the appointment of members in the WTO's appellate body. He added that there is an urgent need to engage constructively to preserve the system and come up with constructive solutions to the problem.