India, Germany commit to reform WTO with a view to strengthen


India and Germany on Monday committed to reforming the WTO with a view to strengthen its principles and functions as well as preserve the autonomy of the two-tier appellate body of the global trade organisation.

Both sides also expressed their strong support for the upcoming negotiations between the European Union and India on a Free Trade Agreement, an Investment Protection Agreement and an Agreement on Geographical Indications.

World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Further, they emphasised the enormous potential of such pacts for expanding bilateral trade and investment, according to a joint statement issued after the 6th India-Germany Inter-Governmental Consultations.

The meeting was held under the co-chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Appreciating the continued adherence to and underlining the importance of rules-based, open, inclusive, free and fair trade, the two nations highlighted the importance of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) as the centre of the multilateral trading system and central pillar of integrating developing countries into the global trading system.

“Both governments committed to reforming the WTO with the objective of strengthening its principles and functions, especially, preserving the two-tier appellate body, along with the autonomy of the appellate body,” the joint statement said.

The appellate body is a standing body of seven persons that hears appeals from reports issued by panels in disputes brought by WTO members. Currently, the appellate body is unable to review appeals due to positions remaining vacant.

Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)

The term of the last sitting appellate body member expired on November 30, 2020.

According to the statement, the two sides aim to make supply chains more resilient, diversified, responsible, and sustainable.

In a tweet after the meeting, Modi said India committed to quick progress in free trade agreement negotiations with European Union.

“Both governments highlight the need to work together to ensure that supply chains can continue to bring economic benefits while upholding international environmental, labour and social standards,” the statement said.

In the field of taxation, both sides welcomed the agreement on the two-pillar-solution reached at the OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) in October 2021.

Both the governments also expressed their common understanding that the solution should be simple, the process will be inclusive and will contribute to the stabilisation of the international tax systems by establishing a fair level playing field for all businesses.

German Accelerator (GA)

“Germany and India shared a willingness to support a swift and effective implementation of both pillars. India and Germany expressed their commitment to complete the protocol amending the double tax avoidance agreement quickly,” the statement said.

Futher, the two sides expressed their wish to further strengthen the start-up cooperation and in this context appreciate the ongoing cooperation between Start-up India and the German Accelerator (GA).

The two nations welcomed GA’s intention to further increase its support by offering an India Market Access programme from 2023 onwards and Start-up India’s proposal to develop a common engagement model in partnership with GA for enhanced support to both startup communities.

India and Germany have signed nine agreements. They pertain to green and sustainable development partnership, comprehensive migration and mobility partnership, and field of advanced training of corporate executives and junior executives from India, among others. (Source: PTI)