ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India and the WTO


The article by Sanjoy Bagchi on ‘India and the WTO’ (January 13, 2001) has raised a number of issues. It is necessary to discuss this important subject for I believe that not adequate informed discussion is taking place in India.

I agree with Sanjoy Bagchi that India can ill afford to walk out of the WTO. That option does not exist for India for a number of reasons. First, it has been found by almost all countries that it would be better to be a party to a multilateral organisation rather than seeking to achieve policy objectives, domestic and international, via bilateral and trilateral agreements. In fact, the experience of China in this context is quite educative. While China was endeavouring to enter GATT-47 and, subsequently, the WTO, it sought to achieve its objectives through bilateral agreements. It found that this approach is quite ineffective and unpredictable and, in fact, cumbersome. Hence, it mounted an effort to remove the obstacles to get admission to the WTO. The major obstacle obviously was the acceptance of China’s entry by major trading partners – the US and then the European Union. China has made a number of concessions to satisfy the US followed by EU and thus get their acceptance for admission to the WTO. Now one can see that China would be entering the WTO with a status of a developing country in 2001.

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