India will draw the focus of G20 nations on making trade more inclusive and growth-oriented for developing countries and LDCs in a series of four meetings under the trade and investment working group, senior officials have said.

The deliberations will be on issues, such as resilient global value chains, seamless logistics, empowering MSMEs, and helping poorer countries tackle non-tariff barriers, such as quality standards.

“Given that at the WTO we have been championing issues for facilitating trade for developing countries and LDCs, bringing a consensus on some of them at the G20 will help us push it further at the multilateral forum,” an official familiar with the matter told businessline.

India holds the rotating presidency of the G20 this year and will host the G20 Summit in September.

The first meeting of the trade and investment working group, under the Commerce and Industry Ministry, will be in Mumbai in March, followed by Kewariya in June, Bengaluru in July, and Jaipur in September, the official said. The Jaipur meeting will be a Ministerial where final decisions will be taken.

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Areas of focus

To help developing nations, there is a need for better mapping of GVCs in the existing value chains, the official said. “Countries need to look at how to expand or make value chains more robust in situations like global shocks, such as the pandemic or the ongoing situation in Russia, where disruption in supply lines hurt trade. We have to see how to have an understanding on this among major countries and G20 is a good forum for that,” he said.

In the area of logistics, India wants to initiate discussion on adopting an integrated approach and sharing of information. “G20 nations must talk about how we can have some kind of a seamless exchange of information between countries so that borders can become more facilitative rather than being obstructionist and blocking trade,” the official said.

Having a paperless customs department would be important here, he said.

Focussing on MSMEs and looking at ways in increasing their role in GVCs by providing them with a more facilitative environment will be another area of major focus for India at the G20.

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“We have to see how MSMEs can use online platforms and have better access to information across countries. They need to be enabled to find out countries where there is demand for their products so that they can make matching supplies,” the official said.

New Delhi also wants discussions on how trade can be used for growth and development so that the SDG goals of alleviating poverty could be met. “LDCs have to be helped to tackle non-tariff barriers, such as standards, as they don’t have enough laboratories for testing. They have to be helped by setting up labs and providing training. This is also something that would be discussed at the G20 meetings,” the official said.

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The G20 membership comprises a mix of the world’s largest advanced and emerging economies, representing about two-thirds of the world’s population, 85 per cent of global gross domestic product, and over 75 per cent of global trade.

Members include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.