India and WTO


India is advocating for the reinstatement of the Appellate Body and reforms to the Dispute Settlement system at the ongoing WTO Ministerial Conference-13 in Abu Dhabi.


GS03 (Economy)

Key Highlights:

  • The Appellate Body, which serves as the appellate arm of the Dispute Settlement system, has been inactive since December 2019 due to the United States’ obstruction in appointing its Members. This has significantly undermined the credibility of the WTO and the rules-based order it supports.
  • India has emphasized that restoring the Appellate Body is of utmost importance for any reform initiative. It asserts that a credible and reliable WTO Dispute Settlement system is fundamental to ensuring an equitable, effective, secure, and predictable multilateral trading system.
  • To address this issue, India has proposed a three-point action plan for Members:
    • Transitioning the discussions on dispute settlement reforms to WTO formal bodies, preferably under the guidance of the Dispute Settlement Body Chair.
    • Ensuring that the transition results in an effective multilateralization of the process, taking into account the interests and challenges of developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs).
    • Prioritizing the restoration of the Appellate Body.
  • Additionally, India has underscored the importance of prioritizing development in the work of the WTO. It highlights the lack of substantial action despite numerous promises, which has exacerbated the vulnerabilities of developing countries, including LDCs.
  • India argues that development is the primary goal for which developing countries and LDCs joined the WTO, emphasizing the need for the organization to prioritize, deliberate, and deliver solutions to the various challenges faced by these nations. Moreover, India emphasizes that the principles of Special and Differential Treatment, often contested by developed countries, should not be exceptions to general WTO rules.