WTO : Women participation in Trade issue

Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade
  • Nearly three-fourths of the 164-member World Trade Organisation (WTO) have supported a declaration seeking women’s economic empowerment by expeditiously removing barriers to trade,
  • India stayed away from declaration, opposing the linking of gender and trade and said that such issues should be discussed outside WTO
  • WTO members and observers supporting the Declaration have specifically agreed to explore and find ways to best tackle women’s general lack of access to trade financing and sub-optimal participation of women in public procurement markets
  • Inclusion of women-led businesses, in particular, small firms in value chains has also been identified as a theme related to trade and the economic empowerment of women
Reasoning behind India’s stand
  • Agreeing to the proposition to link gender and trade could lead to advanced countries using their high standards in gender-related policies to curb exports from the developing world
  • This could also indirectly restrict developing countries from incentivizing their women citizens as part of measures to address developmental challenges
  • Discussing such issues at WTO will set a precedent to bring in other non-trade issues such as labour and environment standards into the WTO’s ambit

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