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India boycotts ‘Osaka Track’ at G20 summit

India boycotts ‘Osaka Track’ at G20 summit

India, South Africa, and Indonesia have boycotted the “Osaka Track" on the “digital economy" at the G20 leaders’ summit in Osaka on 29 June.

According to analysts, the Osaka Track undermines the multilateral principles of consensus-based decisions in global trade negotiations, and it also denies policy space for developing countries.

Japan, which hosted the G20 leaders’ summit in Osaka on 29 June, attempted behind the scenes to legitimize the informal plurilateral (two or more countries) negotiations on digital trade that were never approved at the World Trade Organization.

Japan circulated a “take-it-or-leave it" text on digital trade to all the G20 countries on 26 June seeking approval of the “Osaka Track" for promoting purlilateral negotiations among 50 countries (the EU which represents 28 countries is taken as one).

What developing countries are demanding?

India, South Africa, Indonesia, and a large majority of developing countries consistently demanded that negotiations on e-commerce/digital trade must be conducted on the basis of the 1998 work programme.

Against this backdrop, India, South Africa, and Indonesia among others chose not to sign the declaration on Osaka Track because it would fundamentally undermine the core WTO principles for arriving at consensus-based decisions.

What is Osaka Track?

The Osaka Track, according to the 50 signatories, is a process for promoting “international policy discussions, inter alia, international rule-making on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce at the WTO."

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