India has reportedly invited Pakistan’s Commerce Minister, Pervaiz Malik, to participate in the informal WTO ministerial meet which is scheduled to take place on March 19-20 in New Delhi.

If the media reports are to be believed Malik has already confirmed his attendance.

According to the reports, Malik will meet Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu. It is unclear whether the Pak Minister will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj or not.

Key WTO trade ministries from both rich and developing economies will discuss challenges being faced by the multi-lateral organisation at a meeting being hosted by India in March.

The meeting, a sort of mini-ministerial, has been convened by India in the aftermath of failure of the trade talks at Buenos Aires last year on account of differences among the members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

India has also invited ministers from the US, European Union, Australia, China, New Zealand and several African countries.

According to an official, the objective of the meeting is to initiate a free and frank discussion on various key issues and challenges facing the Geneva-based WTO.

Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu had earlier said that the meeting will seek to revitalise the multi-lateral trade body.

The meeting also assumes significance as rich nations are forming groupings to prepare ground for pushing new issues such as investment facilitation, preparing rules for e- commerce, promoting gender equality and reducing subsidy on fisheries.

 

(With PTI inputs)