The recent success of 12th WTO ministerial at Geneva, where a multilateral trade deal was reached after seven years, was “largely” because of India’s leadership in helping to navigate everybody’s viewpoints and bringing the developed and developing world to a consensus that was “fair and equitable”, said Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday.

Post the success of this ministerial, the perception on India has been transformed as a country that leads, that brings fairness and that brings solutions to the table and that brings a voice of large section of the world that cannot be ignored, Goyal said at a press conference here.

“Now everybody is thanking India, this is one of the most successful WTO ministerial ever held. Every Indian citizen should be proud of the outcome of WTO ministerial,” Goyal said. India was the voice of its farmers, fisheries sector, MSMEs and its poor and the country’s imprint was seen in almost all the agreements reached, he said, adding, “Not only were India’s interests fully protected, but it also took care of the world’s interests.”

India is no longer seen as a “deal breaker” but a “deal maker”, the minister said. In cricket parlance, India played on the “front foot” at Geneva and helped protect multilateralism, he noted.

Trips waiver

On the benefits that would flow to the domestic pharma sector, he said the TRIPS waiver had two parts — current vaccine production for Covid-19 and the other one being the addition of therapeutics and diagnostics, hopefully in the next six months. 

“For the current strains of Covic-19, we don’t need a TRIPS waiver. But we have supported other developing countries who wished to manufacture vaccine,” he said. Should a new strain emerge in the next five years and somebody else finds a vaccine, then India can use this waiver to manufacture that vaccine.

“In the meantime I have offered to many developing countries and other countries, if they want to manufacture vaccines in their country, our manufacturers are ready, willing and happy to support them (with technology) to set up such facilities,” Goyal said.

Goyal highlighted that the latest TRIPS waiver allows a country to export 100 per cent of production for five years. Otherwise, only 49 per cent exports were allowed under compulsory licensing.

India-EU FTA

Goyal said the proposed India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will be a “win-win” agreement for both sides and it would be an “equitable and balanced” one. Three days from now, the European side will land in Delhi and discussions towards FTA will begin on June 27.

This proposed FTA will throw open the door to the EU for Indian textiles, pharma, agricultural products, sports goods and leather goods, Goyal said. Similarly, both sides will get opportunities to expand services and it will provide India with an increased opportunity for services. India and the EU will also enter into agreements on investments and geographical indications.

“It is in the interest of our Indian businesses and farmers that this agreement happens. It will also be good for Indian consumers as we will get high quality products. It will also help India improve the quality of manufacturing and move to global standards. India should be recognised in the world as a global producer of quality goods at affordable prices,” Goyal said.