D. Ravi Kanth (for Info only, not official)

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D. Ravi Kanth

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    ...More than 60 individuals from 20 non-governmental organizations accredited by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to participate in the meeting have been denied permission to enter Argentina, the land of tango, on security grounds. Deborah James, a well-known and respected activist from Washington which coordinates the civil society network called “Our World Is Not For Sale” asked the WTO director general to urgently remedy the situation by intervening with the Argentinean government to “reverse its decision.” “And if the [Argentinean] government maintains its violation of the host country agreement, to bring this issue immediately to the General Council and reschedule the [MC11 or the 11th ministerial conference] when a proper host can be found,” she wrote to Roberto Azevedo, the WTO director general on 4 December. Clearly, something went wrong between the WTO and the Argentinean government and it is not clear who is to be blamed for this fiasco. ...

    Live Mint on Dec. 8, 2017, 4:37 a.m.

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    ...More than 60 individuals from 20 non-governmental organizations accredited by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to participate in the meeting have been denied permission to enter Argentina, the land of tango, on security grounds. Deborah James, a well-known and respected activist from Washington which coordinates the civil society network called “Our World Is Not For Sale” asked the WTO director general to urgently remedy the situation by intervening with the Argentinean government to “reverse its decision.” “And if the [Argentinean] government maintains its violation of the host country agreement, to bring this issue immediately to the General Council and reschedule the [MC11 or the 11th ministerial conference] when a proper host can be found,” she wrote to Roberto Azevedo, the WTO director general on 4 December. Clearly, something went wrong between the WTO and the Argentinean government and it is not clear who is to be blamed for this fiasco. ...

    Live Mint on Dec. 8, 2017, 4:37 a.m.

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    ...That is a question that will face 164 trade ministers when they congregate in Buenos Aires on 10 December. Already immersed in tracing a missing submarine with 46 crew members, the Argentinian government has another major task now: how to ensure that a ministerial summit for which it has worked assiduously for the past two years doesn’t get drowned in its Atlantic waters due to irreconcilable differences among the participants. That trade ministerial summits tend to be spasmodic and volatile is well known. There are more failures than successes at these meetings. They take place in pressure-cooker mode and in an opaque setting with most participants excluded from decision-making. The Uruguay Round of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) trade negotiations which began in 1986 were supposed to conclude in Brussels in December 1990. But the Brussels meeting collapsed due to an impasse over agriculture between the trans-Atlantic trade elephants—the US and the European Union (EU). ...

    Live Mint on Nov. 22, 2017, 12:22 a.m.

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    ...Since its inception in 1989, APEC has made halting progress towards Pacific-wide trade liberalization. Free trade guru C. Fred Bergsten of the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics is credited for advocating a free trade agreement of Asia-Pacific, with the US as the main driver. Bergsten’s famous “Bicycle Theory” of trade liberalization, which calls for uninterrupted trade liberalization to hold back a “protectionist slide” and “restrictive” pressures, became the soul of the Washington Consensus. Surely, Bergsten would be aghast to read about what his country’s elected president is going to say on US trade priorities right now. ...

    Live Mint on Nov. 8, 2017, 1:36 a.m.

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    ...That is the question being raised repeatedly by the senior US commerce and trade officials these days. “The US-India trade imbalance [in] bilateral trade between the United States and India is growing, but the growth is all in India’s favour because barriers continue to keep exports out of the market,” said the billionaire US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross while addressing US-India Business Council in Washington on 12 September. The US, he said, wants “growing and balanced” trade with India. But right now statistics show that India’s market is still not open despite a recent spate of reforms undertaken by the Modi government, he has complained, according to a report in Washington Trade Daily on 13 September. While bilateral trade doubled over the past decade to $114 billion last year, the trade deficit tripled over that same period to $27 billion in favour of the US. ...

    Live Mint on Oct. 25, 2017, 12:05 a.m.

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    ...The fourth-largest Moroccan city and one of the busiest towns of Africa became famous after the Marrakesh Agreement led to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO). That agreement was signed by 124 countries, including India, on 15 April 1994. It was a pact which was hammered out after 12 years of Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations. The Marrakesh Agreement marked the high tide of globalization. The two trans-Atlantic elephants—the US and the European Union—largely carved out the rules in Marrakesh Agreement and its various annexes. They cover all aspects of international trade from agriculture to rules on safeguards, from trade in services to intellectual property rights, and from rules and procedures governing the settlement of trade disputes to plurilateral agreements limited to a few members of the coalition of willing. ...

    Live Mint on Oct. 11, 2017, 2:55 a.m.

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    ...But Angela Merkel will be returning to a different Reichstag this week, having witnessed the dramatic rise of the far right in the German election on Sunday. The emergence of the Afd, or Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany), as the third-largest force in Germany is a telling comment on the breakdown of trust in the political establishment. Despite the repeated depiction of Merkel as the “mother figure” of Europe’s powerhouse economy, many in Germany are feeling increasingly anxious about the economic health of their communities and the prospects of their children and grandchildren. This runs counter to the endlessly repeated claims of the arch-globalizers that they (people) have never had it so good and that anyway, there is nothing policymakers can do to change course as it’s all down to markets and technology which are beyond their control. ...

    Live Mint on Sept. 27, 2017, 12:52 a.m.

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    ...The reason was simple: Kamal Nath adopted strong positions on agriculture at the failed 2008 ministerial meeting in Geneva. The US was unable to advance its trade-distorting domestic subsidy programmes and secure new market access in India due to Kamal Nath’s inflexible positions. Sharma, in his exuberance to make a new beginning and break away from his predecessor’s hardline positions, visited Washington first to deliver a message of truce. His pronouncements there caused confusion and embarrassment to his own officials in Geneva and New Delhi. But they were unable to convey their disapproval to him. Instead, they requested an analyst on global trade issues to explain to the new minister the damage he had caused to India’s negotiating positions. Thus, whenever there is a change of guard at the commerce and industry ministry, there is considerable anxiety. ...

    Live Mint on Sept. 13, 2017, 12:22 a.m.