Even with the evolved scenario in this 21 st century, the tide hasn't turned anywhere close to equality when it comes to international organisations and their functioning. We all are well aware of the socio-economic partition: the Global North (a group of developed nations) and the Global South (a group of nations still climbing the ladders to development), the latter mostly ex-colonies of the former, and now termed Sovereign or Supreme. However, even today developing nations despite their substantive definitions of Sovereignty in respective political frameworks are not in control of their Economic freedom. The steering wheel of their economies are still handled by their developed counterparts.
The same holds true for the most imperative body for monitoring International Trade namely -World Trade Organisation or WTO (which is also the main emphasis of this research article). The big guns like the US, Russia and France hold the whip when it comes to managing policies or formalising rules and norms, and the WTO acts as a tamed lion even whenit strives for the sanctity of international trade whilesubmitting to the whims and fancies of the developed nations.
These international institutions go around the world preaching liberalization, which is misapprehended in its totality as the developing countries find themselves grappling in a closed tunnel with nowhere to escape as they open up their markets to the commodities of their developed counterparts. However the vice-versa is nowhere to be noticed. This imputes the quite evident-tyrannical and cynical policies employed by the WTO in order to please the Big shots that run the International financial market.
In the nineteenth century, the developed nations used gunboats. Now they use economic weapons and arm-twisting. "The problem is not with globalization but with how it has been managed. Part of the problem lies with the international economic institutions, with the IMF, World Bank, and WTO, which help set the rules of the game. They have done so in ways that, all too often, have served the interests of the more advanced industrialized countries – and particular interests within those countries – rather than those of the developing world."
The most relevant question that these kind of skewed Policies adopted by International Organisations pose is that have we looped back to the era of colonisation, where autonomy of the so-called sovereign developing nations was diluted, bleak and impertinent.
Developed country negotiators have become adept at cloaking their own interests in the language of development. Rich countries argue that what they call 'advanced developing countries' – such as China, India, Brazil, and South Africa – no longer need S&DT (Special and Differential Treatment) measures to promote development. However, such countries are being targeted not because they have reached a particularlevel of development, but because their middle-class consumers constitute potentially lucrative markets. The reality is that the rich countries want 'blood on the floor' in the share of market access concessions by these countries as part of any deal.
As now we have become somewhat acquainted with the skewed policies that WTO employs, the "Denial of S&DT" statement of the US, a big dog, is yet another prime example of the developed nations attempting to turn the cards in their favour when it comes to formulating World trade policies. The Special and Differential treatment (S&DT) is an exceedingly compelling provision which the WTO allows that facilitates increased market access for developing countries exports and somewhat protection for their own markets. It enables developing countries to take up trade commitments proportionate with their respective economic capacities and allows developing members like India to formulate their domestic trade policies, in a manner that helps in reducing poverty, generating employment, establishing and integrating meaningfully into the global trade market.
The US attempting to reframe the WTO rulebook and effecting far-reaching amendments in the WTO provisions so as to abstain the developing nations such as India from using the special Policy space to address their specific trade needs is a monstrous injury in the path of economic development of India in the long run. The recently strained trade relationship between the two counterparts is another matter of concern as the US decided to exclude India from its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) which allows certain set of goods to be imported into US with zero import tariffs. The Indian restrictions on the US manufactured medical devices as well as on the dairy products for alleged "religious reasons" is yet another setback in the trade relations that the two nations share. This fiasco is an outcome of the policies adopted by both the nations in order to appease their respective domestic constituencies.
Now, the onus falls on the Ambassador & Permanent Representative of India to the WTO to leave no stone unturned in putting forward India's negotiation arguments at the WTO because any grotesque attempt to alter the WTO rules may shatter the very foundation of the Indian International trade. The WTO may look like a 'one-country one-vote' democracy, but in practice the powerful players call all the shots.
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