The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) appealed the Union government to fight for the interests of poor countries at the forthcoming WTO Ministerial Conference which is scheduled to take place from June 12-15 in Geneva, Switzerland.
In a resolution passed in SJM’s National Council Meeting in Nagpur on June 5, the SJM noted that “four issues which will attract focus of member countries, which carries special importance for people of Least Developed Countries and developing countries are decisions on temporary moratorium on custom duty on electronic transmission; TRIPS waiver on vaccine, medicines and related technologies for treatment of COVID-19; permanent solution to Peace Clause in Agreement on Agriculture on public stockholding for food security and fisheries subsidies.”
Explaining how hard the last two years have been for the poor countries because of the global pandemic of Covid-19, the SJM has appealed the Union government that it should press for TRIPS waiver for medicines, diagnostics and other related materials.
“It is unfortunate that the proposal of the developed world is limited to TRIPS waiver for vaccine only and that too, limited to import and exports of the vaccine. Need of the hour is TRIPS waiver extended to Medicines, diagnostic, disposables and all types of equipments used in the treatment of COVID. We call upon Government of India to take up the issue at MC12 forcefully and give lead to the developing countries and LDC for this much needed extensive TRIPS waiver,” the resolution read.
TRIPS is Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. The WTO says its agreement on “Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property (IP)…plays a central role in facilitating trade in knowledge and creativity, in resolving trade disputes over IP, and in assuring WTO members the latitude to achieve their domestic policy objectives.” The poor countries believe its highly restrictive in nature.
Appealing the government to fight for subsidy to the farming sector, it said, “We call upon the Government to press for an agreement which doesn’t come in way of food security for crores of Indian people and also undo the historical wrongs in terms of classification of subsidies. There is no justification of allowing more than $300 billion of subsidies by US and objecting a meagre subsidies given by Indian government for food security of people.”
In a statement on November 22 last year, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh had said, “The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh strongly opposes the WTO proposals on banning the subsidies to fishermen in the name of Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by the unorganised sector’s fishermen.”
It had added, “The small fishermen of India and other developing countries are having many limitations and low capacities; they are nowhere responsible for this. It is the developed countries which are to be blamed for the depleting the marine fishing reserves.”
It strongly opposed the developed countries obsession with disciplining the fisheries subsidies. “Swadeshi Jagran Manch calls upon the government to safeguard the interests of our small fishermen and other fishing activities for the livelihood of our vast coastal population,” the resolution read.
While appreciating the Union governmnet’s decision to oppose moratorium on tariff on import of e products, the SJM said, “We push to put on record that current moratorium on custom duty on electronic transfer is against the interest of developing countries in general and India in particular. This is not only impacting job creation in electronic sector, but also the revenue generation. Imposition of tariff on electronic transmission will be the first condition for success in fourth industrial revolution, namely, digital industrialisation.”