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Indian business leaders discuss trade reforms with WTO chief

Mittal, who is also Chairman of India's largest telecom firm Bharti Airtel, asked participants to consider ways in which WTO could re-energise cross-border trade to drive job creation and development.

Over 50 representatives from various sectors in the country, including online retail and technology firms, have met WTO chief Roberto Azevedo to discuss issues pertaining to global trade. Azevedo, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), met with Indian business leaders yesterday for discussions on future of global trading system at a round-table hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), a statement said today.

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ICC Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal and ICC Secretary General John Danilovich joined over 50 senior representatives from key sectors for the discussions that focussed on trade reforms to boost inclusive growth and other world trade developments, it added.

Mittal, who is also Chairman of India’s largest telecom firm Bharti Airtel, asked participants to consider ways in which WTO could re-energise cross-border trade to drive job creation and development.

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He also urged them to discuss the trade barriers they experience in their daily operations.

“It’s clear that we must do more to make the case for global commerce. And also to ensure that the benefits of trade reach all parts of society,” Mittal said.

The meeting featured a detailed briefing by Azevedo on the state of play of trade negotiations in Geneva, with focus on preparations for the next WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Buenos Aires in December.

“It’s vital that we — the global business community — do all we can to ensure that that Ministerial delivers tangible results to support trade and inclusive development,” Mittal said.


The state of global trade was also central to discussion, particularly with ongoing concerns regarding the slow rate of global trade growth in recent years.

Azevedo said advancing multilateral trade negotiations was more important than ever and stated that the imminent entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement would be an important boost to the global trading system.

Ahead of a meeting with Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Azevedo welcomed India’s continued strong engagement in Geneva discussions and paid tribute to the country’s leadership in the multilateral trading system.


Indicating that agriculture issues would be at the top of the agenda during his talks with Sitharaman, Azevedo acknowledged the importance of agriculture for India and highlighted some of the decisions that had been taken at the Bali and Nairobi Ministerial Conferences in this regard.

Azevedo said he was also looking forward to hearing more about India’s Trade Facilitation in Services proposal – a key issue discussed with ICC business leaders, with strong support shown among the round-table participants for the Indian proposal, the statement said.

First published on: 09-02-2017 at 07:04:13 pm
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