In what’s termed by Indian officials as a diplomatic victory, New Delhi could get the joint statement issued at the 2nd East Asia Summit Economic Ministers’ meeting “toned-down”, when it comes to the criticism of the country’s recent stand at the WTO which led to postponement of adoption of the protocol for trade facilitation agreement (TFA).
Senior commerce ministry officials told FE on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit-EAS Economic Ministers meeting that it took three hours of intense negotiations that led to the success and the mention of TFA was removed from the official release. Ravi Capoor, joint secretary in department of commerce, said, “We discussed this (inclusion a comment on TFA delay) at length and could ensure that this is removed from the final statement released on Wednesday.”
The ministers at the meeting, however, expressed concern about the inability of WTO members to implement the Bali Package in accordance with the ministerial decision in Bali. The ministers reaffirmed the commitment to maintaining support for the multilateral system and called for a comprehensive and balanced implementation of the Bali Package and completion of a work program on the remaining DDA issues in accordance with the ministerial decision in Bali.
They also emphasised the importance of prioritising cooperative efforts between the ASEAN and East Asian Summit (EAS) partners to facilitate the ASEAN economic goal and further integration of ASEAN with the wider region.
It was decided at the meeting today that they needed to identify areas of cooperation with focus on 2015 and beyond, and wider economic integration by both the ASEAN and EAS partners.