Six recommendations for MSMEs adopted at WTO Informal Working Group
New Delhi, Dec 16 (KNN) An informal Working Group at World Trade Organization (WTO) has adopted a resolution recently containing six recommendations aimed at addressing challenges smaller businesses face when they trade internationally.
Ambassador José Luís Cancela (Uruguay), the Coordinator of the Group comprising of over 90 countries, noted that MSMEs often struggle to participate in international trade and have been hit very hard by the current pandemic. He added that by endorsing this package, the Group signals that it stands ready to help them.
The package includes a set of ‘voluntary and non-binding recommendations’ covering areas such as transparency and information sharing on MSMEs, trade facilitation, access to finance and cross-border payments, access to market information and inclusion of MSMEs in regulatory developments.
The specific recommendations are:
WTO member countries are to provide on a voluntary basis, information on policies related to MSMEs during their WTO Trade Policy Reviews to enhance transparency and to be a source of good practices (e.g., number of MSMEs in the economy and their share in international trade or programmes that support MSMEs to trade).
Secondly, supporting the Global Trade Helpdesk, a tool led by the International Trade Centre, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the WTO to help MSMEs access market intelligence, including on tariffs and regulations.
Thirdly, WTO members are asked to fully implement the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement, exchange experiences to identify and promote good practices that can help MSMEs and consider adopting digital customs procedures to ease these difficulties.
Fourthly, members are encouraged to analyse potential impacts for smaller businesses and consult with MSMEs before implementing new trade regulations.
Fifthly, supporting implementation of the 2019 Decision on the WTO Integrated Database to act as official source of tariff and trade-related information.
Finally, members are called to share best practices to enhance access to finance and cross-border payments.
The informal Working Group is not without controversies though as it is seen to be peddling the agenda of a few countries. While China and Pakistan are its active members, India has chosen not to join the group which includes most of the developing countries.