Voice of Global South Summit 2023
Remarks by Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal at the Commerce and Trade Ministers’ Session of the Voice of Global South Summit- January 13, 2023
- Let me first of all welcome you all to the ‘Voice of Global South Summit’ and thank you for joining this important event. This summit event as the name suggests, is to pay attention to the issues pertaining to the global South and those issues before key global forums like G20, the UN and other multilateral settings.
- This Summit will attempt to bring out the perspectives and views of countries of the global South, to which India belongs, and also promote human-centric development, focused on unity of the voice of our countries.
- The theme of today’s meeting- Developing synergies in the South- Trade, Technology, Tourism and Resources- is an apt theme in the circumstances we find ourselves at this juncture. These are the key pillars for development of the countries of the South. The COVID-19 pandemic belied our reliance on the existing structures of cooperation. The developing world not only saw vaccine inequity, but also impact on our economy, tourism etc. We are also faced with other challenges, including the consequences of the geopolitical tensions. The global economic recovery is fragile and weak. The growth rate of global trade has slowed down. A sustainable recovery, in this scenario, is possible only if all of us work together.
- We need to forge new partnerships and mechanisms so that the voice of the Global South is reflected on the decision-making table.
- The developing countries were severely effected due to supply chain disruption during the pandemic, including facing severe shortages of food and essential medical products. The pandemic has shown that we need to work work together to build resilient supply chains.
- During the pandemic, India provided free wheat and rice to 800 million people in the country. At the same time, India also supplied food grains to many countries in need.
- In India, for sustainable food security, we are promoting traditional food grains like Millets, which are nutrition rich. We all must celebrate this year as International Year of Millets with great enthusiasm.
- There is also a need for de-politicization of the global supply of essential medical products. At the WTO Ministerial Conference held in Geneva in June 2022, India, South Africa, and other developing countries worked together to obtain the TRIPS waiver decision providing equitable and affordable access to vaccines. We shall redouble our efforts at the WTO to get the TRIPS waiver extended to COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.
- The countries of the Global South are now contributing more than half of the world’s growth. The South-South trade has soared over the years to hit $5.3 trillion in 2021. The volume of trade between developing countries is now higher than that between developing and developed countries.
- India has a large market and excellent trade ties with all the countries of the South. We would like that trade linkages should be further enhanced for mutual benefit of all our countries.
- India is providing unilateral duty-free market access to the least-developed countries (LDCs) since 2008 through the duty-free tariff preference (DFTP) scheme of India. We are happy to share that 35 LDCs have become beneficiaries under this Scheme that provides preferential market access on 98% of India’s total tariff lines.
- India also offers services waiver to LDCs, under which preferential treatment in market access, waiver of visa fee for business and employment visas, technical assistance and capacity building is provided for service suppliers from LDCs.
- India is also open to enter into Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) with interested countries in the South for tapping the significant trade potential that exists between us.
- Connectivity is a defining factor for success in the developing world. Better infrastructure provides ease of delivery of services to the last mile and helps people in remote areas to join the mainstream. It leads to even remote regions witnessing business investments, providing skill development and employment opportunities locally.
- India’s National Logistic policy (NLP) and the PM-Gati Shakti launched last year are steps in this direction. While the Gati Shakti focuses on the development of integrated infrastructure, the National Logistic policy is concerned with creating digital services and a regulatory framework that will help streamline the logistics ecosystem in India.
- We, in the global South, can work together to exchange best practices in models of connectivity that we employ in our countries.
Investment & Technology
- Southern countries are also helping to drive world investment. According to the United Nations, the outflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) from the South represent a third of global flows.
- Indian companies are also investing abroad in a big way, including in the Southern countries.
- Financial cooperation and FDI between developing countries have funded much-needed infrastructure – including ports, roads and bridges – in the Global South. This closer financial cooperation is also enabling developing countries to engage more in the global policy debates and shape the international agenda.
- When we speak of technology, sharing and use of technology for development of all of our countries needs to be prioritised. India's experience of the past few years has shown us that if we make digital architecture inclusive, it can bring about socio-economic transformation. Our United Payment Interface (UPI), which is an instant real-time payment system, has transformed India's Digital Payment Landscape accounting for over 40% of all digital transactions taking place in India. In 2022, the UPI processed over 74 billion transactions valued at US$ 1.54 trillion. Our open source digital CoWIN platform was a key factor in the success of India’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.
- India has also emerged as a land of start-ups, unicorns and grass-roots innovation in the last few years. This has helped us in our economic growth and taking development to the people.
- We will be happy to share such innovations and work together with the countries of the South.
- Tourism is another area having a multiplier impact on socio- economic growth. Many developing country economies dependent on tourism were severely affected due to the travel-related restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tourism sector has picked up in the last one year.
- Countries of the global South can work together for promoting tourism among each other. Indians are now travelling in greater numbers to all parts of the world and countries of the global South are welcome to promote their countries as tourist destinations in India.Resources
- Natural resources, like minerals, critical rare-Earth elements, oil and natural gas are required for our sustainable development. Many countries of the South have huge deposits of these resources and we should work closely to use such resources for the benefit of the South. We should also be wary of monopolization of supply of certain minerals, leading to high prices of these critical inputs and make our energy transition more difficult.
- Before I conclude, I would again like to mention that India is ready to share its development experience with the global South; we are also ready to learn from other fellow countries and bring forth the matters of our common concern for further discussion and cooperation towards our joint sustainable and inclusive growth.
- I will be happy to hear from you on the above-mentioned issues during your interventions. A warm welcome again to the Summit.Thank you