WTO signs a landmark deal after nearly a decade.

The set of trade treaties includes obligations on food security, balanced outcome fisheries subsidies, and pandemic response, all of which are key challenges for developing countries.

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According to an Indian government official,  members of the World Trade Organization got close to reaching an agreement on Thursday after five days of intense negotiations, with Indian negotiators appearing satisfied that the country’s interests were protected in the face of a belligerent stand taken by developed nations. 

According to the official, India achieved favourable outcomes in a number of areas, including food security, the World Food Programme, e-commerce, and WTO reforms. “A WTO declaration for future pandemics is also ready,” he said. 

The official said the negotiators were adding finishing touches to the pacts on fisheries subsidies and waiver on intellectual property rights for vaccines and other products.

 Commerce and Industry minister Piyush Goyal said, “This could be one of the most successful ministerial the WTO has seen in a long time”.“We will take some solid decisions probably after seven years for the first time, subject to a few issues being sorted out in the next few minutes,” he added.

In the backdrop of several foreign media reports terming India as a stumbling block at the WTO, Goyal said India had played a very constructive role in this ministerial. “We have been at the forefront of finding solutions to the issues that are dividing the world,” the minister said, as he addressed a few foreign journalists waiting at the atrium of WTO’s main building.

In recent days, there have been reports in the media that the ministry will fail to deliver in the face of India’s obstinacy. An official said: “From India’s perspective, even a status quo ante on agriculture will be a victory as we will continue to have the peace clause.” The peace clause signed in the Bali ministerial of 2013 allows India to breach limits on procuring food stocks. India, however, wanted the clause to be made permanent.

Negotiators from 162 countries met on Sunday to try to reach an agreement on a variety of topics, including the WTO’s reaction to future pandemics and an IP waiver for vaccines, fisheries subsidies, WTO reforms, agriculture, and food security, and e-commerce.

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