The Union Commerce Minister, Suresh Prabhu, has approved the constitution of a High Level Advisory Group (HLAG) to make recommendations for identifying opportunities and addressing challenges in order to find a way forward for India in the contemporary global trade scenario.
The key responsibility of the group will be to consider ways for boosting India’s share and importance in global merchandise and services trade, managing pressing bilateral trade relations and mainstreaming new age policy making.
Terms of reference of HLAG
• To examine the prevailing international trade dynamics and rising protectionist tendencies, especially on the part of major economies.
• To examine non-engagement by some countries on outstanding trade negotiation issues and commitments, including the Doha Development Agenda and their insistence on pursuing negotiating mandates.
• To build consensus and common understanding.
• To suggest a way forward for India in light of the examination, taking into account its interests and sensitivities.
• To provide options for a balanced approach for the global community to build on achievements thus far and create a conducive global trade framework and move forward in a harmonious and consensual manner that is acceptable to all.
The HLAG will be chaired by Surjit S Bhalla, who is the Director of Oxus Research and Investments.
The other members of the group will include former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, former Commerce Secretary and Member Rajeev Kher, Principal Economic Advisor Sanjeev Sanyal, Quality Council of India Chairman Adil Zainulbha, former DDG at WTO Harshavardhan Singh, DG NCAER Shekhar Shah, Foreign Policy Advisor Vijay Chauthaiwale, IIM Professor Pulok Ghosh, former Ambassador of India to the WTO Jayant Dasgupta, CII’s DG Chandrajit Banerjee and Rajiv K Luthra of Luthra&Luthra.
The group may consider possible approaches and suggest a pragmatic framework for India’s future engagement in international trade.
It may also suggest the manner in which India can play a more proactive and constructive role in working with the international community in exploring and building consensus on resolving emergent trade-related issues.
The High-Level Group would meet regularly over the next two months and make specific implementable recommendations in light of its terms of reference on each of the areas, to facilitate the formulation of future trade policies.
The group may also invite special dignitaries whose inputs may be considered necessary. The Centre for WTO Studies (CWTOS) in New Delhi shall provide the secretariat to the group.
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