Unilateral measures and counter-measures, deadlock in negotiations and the impasse in the World TradeOrganisation’s (WTO) appellate body are some of the key challenges, with the logjam being a serious threat to the dispute settlement mechanism, Indian commerce Secretary AnupWadhawan told delegates from developing and least developed countries (LDCs) in New Delhi.

The Indian Government hosted the delegates recently over two days to discuss key issues and challenges facing the multi-lateral trading system. The fundamentals of the system are being tested through a tide of protectionism around the world, vitiating the global economic environment, an official release quoted Wadhawan as saying at the inaugural session of the meeting. The harm that the institutional failure due to the collapse of the appellate body will cause will be felt more in developing countries, including LDCs, who need the protection of the rules-based system more than the developed countries, he said. The reform agenda being promoted at WTO does not address the concerns of the developing countries, he said. The reform initiatives must promote inclusiveness and non-discrimination, build trust and address the inequalities and glaring asymmetries in existing agreements, he added.