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On G-15 Ministerial meeting on WTO

New Delhi
August 13, 1999

A G-15 Ministerial Meeting on WTO issues is being held in Bangalore on 17-18 August, 1999. This meeting follows the decision taken at the G-15 Summit in Montego Bay, Jamaica in February this year where it was decided that a high-level meeting would be organised by India to discuss WTO issues in preparation for the III WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Seattle, USA in end 1999.

Shri Ramakrishna Hegde, Minister of Commerce has invited his counterparts in the other 16 member countries of G-15 to the Bangalore meeting, High-level participation from all the G-15 countries is expected.

The main contours of the preparatory process for the Seattle Ministerial Conference were defined in the Geneva WTO Ministerial Conference of 1998 (GMC). The developing countries succeeded in highlighting the implementation problems in the existing WTO agreements, and go them included in the GMC declaration. The G-15 Meeting in Bangalore will provide an opportunity for the member countries to exchange views on the GMC declaration, and also address the strategy to be adopted by the developing countries at the III Ministerial Conference to be held in Seattle.

The summit-level group for South-South consultation and cooperation, known as the G-15, came into existence during the Ninth Non-Aligned Summit in Belgrade in September 1989. The intention was to create a functional and compact group of developing countries that could focus on South-South economic cooperation supported by political engagement at the highest level. The setting up of the G-15 coincides with the beginning of what is, in retrospect a clairvoyant response to the challenges and opportunities that have since been posed to developing countries.

This group of seventeen developing countries believes that there is great scope for economic cooperation among developing countries, in an increasingly interdependent and globalising world. The Group encompasses major countries across three continents - Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is complementary to the efforts of the larger South-South Cooperation fora such as the G-77 and NAM.

Since the G-15 represents a wide spectrum of developing countries, the Bangalore meeting will reflect the broad issues of concern on international trade on the developing countries as a whole.