Piyush Goyal calls upon G20 to play a leadership role in crafting pathway to recover from Coronavirus
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has called upon G-20 to play a leadership role in crafting a pathway to recover from COVID-19.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has called upon G-20 to play a leadership role in crafting a pathway to recover from COVID-19. Piyush Goyal on Tuesday participated in the virtual meeting of the G-20 Trade and Investment Ministers.
Mr Goyal in a tweet said, "Addressed G-20 Meeting of Trade & Investment Ministers, & stressed on importance of small retailers in supply of food & essentials. Also highlighted India's stand on data sovereignty, as well as our economic reforms to build an Aatmanirbhar Bharat"
Making interventions during the meeting, he said, one of the key lessons for all countries is the need to strike the right balance between their external and internal economic policies, to ensure balanced and sustainable development.
He said that India stands ready to engage constructively with all G-20 Members to push an agenda that is inclusive and development-oriented.
Mr Goyal announced that India is not in a position to accept the concept of Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT). He said that India is of the view that the concept of DFFT is neither well understood nor is comprehensive enough in the legislation of many countries.
Moreover, given the huge digital divide among countries, there is a need for policy space for developing countries that still have to finalize laws around digital trade and data. He said, data is a potent tool for development and equitable access of data is a critical aspect for us.
Mr Goyal said, India, like many other developing countries, is still in the phase of preparing a framework for its data protection and e-commerce laws. He said, moreover, the existing regulations on which DFFT is sought to be premised, such as uninhibited cross border flow of data, are grossly inadequate to address our concerns on data access.
He added that this could further aggravate the digital divide. The Minister said that India along with some other G-20 members did not participate in the Osaka track last year due to our reservations.
Describing G20 as a significant grouping representing the majority of the world's population, its GDP and trade, Mr Goyal said that we must pursue an agenda that is universally beneficial and also takes into account the interests of Members outside the G-20. He stressed on the need to be sensitive to diverse economic realities. It is important to recognise the important role of small retailers in sustaining food chains and essential supplies to help sustain lives and economic activity through the Covid-19 pandemic and in future.
He said that India's economic expansion is now premised on the policy of being 'Aatmanirbhar' or self-reliant. "We seek to make India economically stronger with enhanced capacities that would help us as a trusted partner and contribute better to the world. During this COVID-period, India has taken major strides in this direction. We have ramped up our daily production of PPE to over half a million from virtual nil earlier. We are self-sufficient in testing kits, masks, ventilators, etc. We also ensured equitable and transparent supplies of critical medicines. These measures reinforced our credibility as a reliable, trustworthy and empathetic partner working for the common good", the minister said.
On the issue of the multilateral trading system, Mr Goyal said that India believes that it must be fair, transparent and balanced. He said that reforms must preserve core values and fundamental principles like non-discrimination, inclusiveness, recognition of including Special and Differential Treatment, and consensus-based decision making. He said that India is supportive of the Riyadh Initiative which seeks to provide support to this reform process. He added, "However, we must recognise that WTO is a member-led organization, and the G-20 must not seem to be intrusive and driving the agenda for the multilateral trading system. Rather, our priority should be to correct the asymmetry and imbalance in the existing trading system."
Describing services as a critical driver of economic activity, Mr Goyal said that for most countries, it contributes to more than half of their GDPs and has been adversely impacted due to the ongoing pandemic. Since the sector is employment intensive and provides livelihood to the many, he said that it is important to prioritise services in the future agenda of the G-20.