'India needs to deepen pool of international trade lawyers to fight protectionism'

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 02, 2016

India is concerned about the efforts by some countries to include disputes at the World Trade Organisation on issues that do not fall within the realm of trade such as environment.

"This is a great challenge for developing countries and affects freedom of trade," Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said, adding that there was a need to build domestic capacities in international trade laws.

The Commerce Secretary was speaking at a conference on WTO dispute settlement organised on Monday by the Centre for WTO Studies.

Over the years, a number of cases related to environmental laws such as EU legislation on asbestos and the US legislation on import of shrimp turtle have been included in WTO dispute settlement mechanism.

The Secretary said while India does have the required legal professionals to look at actions that are obviously affecting the country’s interest at the WTO, it needs a greater pool of international lawyers to stay more vigilant.

“We need greater capacity for comprehensive routine examination of trade measures of other countries. We do let many of the smaller measures that affect our trade interest go completely unchallenged,” she said.

As global trade slows, there is higher protectionism worldwide and increasing use of trade remedies. India should be prepared to meet all such challenges, she said.

Published on May 02, 2016
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