NEW DELHI: India has cautioned other countries against using regional trade agreements to change the structure of multilateral trade pacts of the World Trade Organisation.

“Emphasising the primacy of multilateralism, she cautioned against use of RTAs to make fundamental changes in the architecture of the WTO agreements,” said an official statement quoting commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The minister was on a two day visit to Norway for a ministerial meeting to set the stage for the Eleventh Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in December next year.

“Commerce Minister highlighted the centrality of the development dimension of the Doha Round…She underscored the need for prioritizing the implementation of Bali and Nairobi Ministerial Decisions,” the government said.

Though the Nairobi Ministerial Declaration last year, had acknowledged that members have different views on how to address the future of the Doha Round negotiations, it did not reaffirm the Doha Development Agenda which was India’s main demand before going for the biennial talks.

Underlining the need for creating a level playing field for the developing countries in agricultural trade by addressing inequities and distortions that threaten the livelihood of poor farmers across the world, Sitharaman also underscored the importance of special and differential provisions in the disciplines on fisheries subsidies.