16.8        ndian     onom
     India & OECD: India has got ‘enhanced                  Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment to India’s
     engagement’ (since 2007) with the body ‘accession’     exports in the markets of other WTO Members.
     (membership) to it is distinct—though it has           National Treatment ensures that India’s products
     potential in future leading to it. The accession       once imported into the territory of other WTO
     process to it is complex and longer as it involves a   Members would not be discriminated vis-à-vis
     series of examinations to assess a country’s ability   the domestic products in those countries. MFN
     to meet its OECD standards in a wide range of          treatment principle ensures that members do not
     policy areas. Meanwhile, India’s relationship          discriminate among various WTO members. If
     with the OECD has developed steadily since             a member country believes that the due benefits
     1998 (when it joined its Steel Committee)—             are not accruing to it because of trade measures
     since 2007 being its ‘Key Partner’. By early           by another WTO member, which are violative of
     2017, India used to participate as an Associate or     WTO rules and disciplines, it may file a dispute
     Participant in 21 OECD bodies and adheres to 9         under the Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM)
     OECD legal instruments, making it an important         of the WTO. There are also contingency provisions
     contributor to several areas of importance—from        built into WTO rules, enabling member countries
     corporate governance to fiscal matters to nuclear      to take care of exigencies like balance of payment
     energy. Furthermore, India plays an active role in     problems and situations like a surge in imports.
     OECD’s regional activities in Asia together with       In case of unfair trade practices causing injury to
     co-operation on various international fora.            the domestic producers, there are provisions to
                                                            impose Anti-Dumping or Countervailing duties
        World trade organIzatIon (Wto)                      as provided for in the Anti-Dumping Agreement
                                                            and the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures
     The World Trade Organization (WTO) came into           Agreement.
     being as a result of the evolution of the multilateral
                                                            Membership: The present membership19 of
     trading system starting with the establishment
                                                            the WTO is 164. The last member to join was
     of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
                                                            Afghanistan (March 2016) after a long negotiation
     (GATT) in 1947. The protracted Uruguay Round
                                                            process of eleven years. Other than its members,
     negotiations spanning the period 1986–1994,            at present, there are 22 observer governments
     which resulted in the establishment of the WTO,        including Afghanistan, Holy See (Vatican), Iran,
     substantially extended the reach of multilateral       Iraq, Libya, Uzbekistan, etc. As per the guidelines
     rules and disciplines related to trade in goods,       of the WTO, observers (except Holy See) must
     and introduced multilateral rules applicable to        start accession negotiations within five years of
     trade in agriculture (Agreement on Agriculture),       becoming observers.
     trade in services (General Agreement on Trade
     in Services—GATS) as well as Trade Related             Ministerial Conferences: Ministerial Conferences
     Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). A separate       are the highest decision-making body of the WTO
     understanding on WTO dispute settlement                which is to meet at least every two years. These
     mechanism (DSU) and trade policy review                conferences bring all members together which
     mechanism (TPRM) was also agreed upon.                 are countries or separate customs territories.
                                                            During these conferences decisions on all matters
          The WTO provides a rule based, transparent
                                                            can be taken. By now, there have been 11 such
     and predictable multilateral trading system.
                                                            conferences of the body—the 11th Ministerial
     The WTO rules envisage non-discrimination
     in the form of National Treatment and Most               19.  As per the WTO website, March 2018.