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WTO mulls initial deal as talks continue late into the night

World Trade Organization (WTO) ministers worked late into Thursday night to reach an agreement as Reuters newswire reported that members struck an initial deal while winning India.

Ministers are negotiating in Geneva for the first time since 2017, when the conference collapsed in Buenos Aires.

Also read: WTO tentatively agrees to extend e-commerce tariff moratorium: Sources

WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reportedly presented draft trade deals on Friday, but these did not include fishing and the partial waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, according to information.

Watch: India fights over fisheries subsidies at WTO meeting

Delegates are due to meet again on Friday to add them later even as Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala claimed the package was ‘unprecedented’ while calling on countries to accept the deal which included food security, health among others .

Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said: “India is confident that this will be one of the most successful ministerial conferences the WTO has seen in a long time”, while adding: “We We’re very confident that the progress being made and the positivity that everyone is engaged with is truly a matter of celebration for the world.”

“We have made solid decisions, subject to the resolution of a few issues,” added the Indian minister. Major areas under negotiation include the waiver of coronavirus patents, food safety, fisheries subsidies, agriculture, e-commerce and others.

Negotiations have passed the Thursday evening deadline as countries continue to haggle over various issues.

“India is not an obstacle to anything,” the Indian minister said of the controversial fisheries deal.

“People are realizing that it was we who helped create the only consensus,” the minister added.

Delegates also discussed the possibility of revocation of virus patents with Britain’s Ambassador to Geneva, Simon Manley, indicating his country was ready for consensus.

The 164-member global trade body has added an extra fifth day to cobble together a compromise deal with delegates willing to compromise on a wide range of issues.

(With agency contributions)

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Post expires at 7:36am on Monday June 27th, 2022