India will be hosting an informal gathering of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) today in which trade ministers of 7 countries including Russia, Singapore, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and South Africa. 5 countries including some African countries have expressed regret on not being able to send someone to represent them but some sources have informed that Pakistan has also registered a meeting and nominated a representative. Morocco and Guinea were both going to be represented by their respective trade ministers but will now be represented by other senior officials.
India is going to host this informal ministerial meeting on March 19 and March 20 after the talks collapsed at the eleventh ministerial conference (MC11) in Bueno Aires in December when the USA retraced back on its commitment to discuss the agricultural issues - which is one the main areas of interest for India. Roberto Azevedo who is the WTO director general will also be participating in the gathering. The objective of the meeting is to discuss on the ways to revitalise the WTO which will help in making sure a predictable and transparent system of rule making is followed in the area of international trade. This is crucial to discuss especially when protectionism is rising across the globe.