INTERNATIONAL

India opposes China’s investment facilitation proposal at the WTO meeting on a “non-trade issue.”

India is adamantly against China’s attempt to use the World Trade Organization (WTO) to advance what it refers to as a “non-trade issue” and a “plurilateral initiative.”

At the present WTO ministerial session in Abu Dhabi, more than 120 nations—led by China—are advocating for the Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Agreement to be included in the international trading organization.

The IFD is an agreement among the nations involved in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and is driven by entrenched interests, official sources informed CNN-News18.

The goal of the Investment Facilitation for Development effort is to create a worldwide agreement on IFD in order to enhance the business and investment environment and make it simpler for investors across all economic sectors to make investments, carry out regular business, and grow their operations.

Since 2017, the group headed by China has insisted that IFD be included in Annexure 4, which addresses plurilateral agreements.

More significantly, it is a non-trade matter that falls beyond the WTO’s jurisdiction, as sources told CNN-News18. The association is mostly made up of countries that are a member of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

China might have advanced its investment agenda in these countries without encountering opposition from non-signatory states if it had been included in Annexure 4. Currently, 123 out of the 166 countries that make up the WTO have signed the IFD, and according to sources, China is optimistic about adding seven more.

It is doubtful that the IFD would be included in the conclusion document of the 13th WTO ministerial meeting, which is being conducted from February 26 to 29, given the strong opposition voiced by Bharat via Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and supported by other countries including South Africa.

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