India and African nations on Friday discussed issues related to the WTO, ahead of the WTO ministerial meeting scheduled for December in Nairobi, at the India-Africa trade ministers’ meeting here.
The fourth India-Africa trade ministers’ meeting (IATMM) also reviewed the progress in the implementation of earlier commitments and the existing trade and business relations between India and Africa.
“India sees Africa as a natural partner and together, we can have a positive influence on the future global economic order,” commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. According to a joint statement issued by the commerce ministry, the two sides also discussed issues pertaining to duty free tariff preference scheme and services waiver for LDCs. The Cotton Technical Assistance Programme was also discussed.
Sitharaman said both India and Africa face similar challenges and concerns and the world economy offers tremendous opportunities to the two ‘fastest growing regions’.
The 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit is scheduled for October 29 and the meeting was a prelude to the summit. Trade ministers and officials from 37 African countries including Algeria, Angola, Benin, Comoros, Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Mauritius, South Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe among others participated in the meeting.
India has been trying to get support for its demand that upcoming ministerial in December should give a permanent solution for the subsidies given under public stockholding programmes so as to not attract penalties. Further, the commerce minister pointed out that India had made an announcement of granting duty free tariff preference to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to open the Indian market to greater exports from African countries.