G20 needs to rebuild confidence in international trade: PM Modi

He also said that India believes in a rules-based, open, inclusive, multilateral trading system, with the WTO at its core.


File photo of Narendra Modi. PHOTO: ANI/ THE STATESMAN

August 25, 2023

NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that the G20 needs to build resilient and inclusive global value chains that can withstand future shocks, as the world economy has gone through tough challenges of the pandemic and geo-political tensions.

Modi was addressing the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers’ Meeting in Jaipur, via video link. “As G20, it is our responsibility to rebuild confidence in international trade and investments,” he said.

He asked the conference to consider India’s proposal to create a Generic Framework for Mapping Global Value Chains. This framework aims to assess vulnerabilities, minimize risks, and enhance resilience, he said.

Stressing the benefits of digitalization of trade documents, the prime minister said he was happy the G20 Ministers were working on the ‘High Level Principles for the Digitalization of Trade Documents’. These principles can help countries in implementing cross-border electronic trade measures, and reduce compliance burdens, he said.

As cross-border E-commerce continues to grow, there are challenges as well, Mr Modi said, adding, “We need to work collectively to ensure equitable competition between large and small sellers. We also need to address the problems faced by consumers in fair price discovery and grievance handling mechanisms.”

He said India believes in a rules-based, open, inclusive, multilateral trading system, with the WTO at its core. The country has advocated the concerns of the Global South at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. “We were able to forge consensus on safeguarding the interests of millions of farmers and small businesses,” the prime minister added.

Making a pitch for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Modi said, “We must pay more attention to MSMEs, given their key role in the global economy. MSMEs account for 60 to 70 per cent of employment and contribute 50 per cent to the global GDP.”

“They need our continued support. Their empowerment translates to societal empowerment. For us, MSME means Maximum Support to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises. India has integrated MSMEs into public procurement through our online platform -Government e-marketplace,” he said.

“We have been working with our MSME sector to adopt the ethos of ‘Zero Defect’ and ‘Zero Effect’ on environment. Increasing their participation in global trade and Global Value Chains has been a priority of the Indian presidency,” he said.

The proposed ‘Jaipur Initiative to foster seamless flow of information to MSMEs’ will address the challenge of inadequate access to market and business-related information faced by MSMEs, the Prime Minister said.“I am also confident that the upgrade of the Global Trade Help Desk will increase participation of MSMEs in global trade,” he said.

Welcoming the G20 Ministers to the Pink City, the prime minister noted that throughout history, trade led to exchange of ideas, cultures, and technology. It has brought people closer. Trade and globalization have also lifted hundreds of millions out of extreme poverty.

Today, there is global optimism and confidence in the Indian economy, he said. India is seen as a combination of openness, opportunities and options. During the last nine years, India has become the fifth largest global economy as a result of sustained efforts. “We are committed to make India the third largest global economy in the next few years,” he affirmed.

“We embarked on the journey of Reform, Perform, and Transform in 2014. We have moved away from red tape to red carpet and liberalized FDI flows. Initiatives like Make in India and Aatma Nirbhar Bharat have given a boost to manufacturing. Above all, we have brought policy stability,” he said.

Technology’s transformative power in trade is undeniable. India’s shift to an online single indirect tax – the GST – helped create a single internal market boosting inter-state trade. “Our Unified Logistics Inter-face Platform makes trade logistics cheaper and more transparent,” he said.

Another game changer is ‘Open Network for Digital Commerce’, which will democratise India’s digital marketplace eco-system. “We have already done that with our Unified Payments Inter-face for payment systems. Digitizing processes and use of e-commerce have the potential to enhance market access,” he said.

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