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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Jun 17, 2022

Current Affair 1:
Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference

The WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) took place from 12 to 17 June 2022 at WTO headquarters in Geneva. Ministers from across the world attended to review the functioning of the multilateral trading system, to make general statements and to take action on the future work of the WTO. The Conference was co-hosted by Kazakhstan.

MC12 outcomes

WTO members successfully concluded MC12 on 17 June, securing multilaterally negotiated outcomes on a series of key trade initiatives.

  1. Ministerial Declaration on the Emergency Response to Food Insecurity:
  1. It aims to make progress towards the achievement of a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system, ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, promoting sustainable agriculture and food systems, and
  2. implement resilient agricultural practices that enhance productivity and production in fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goal 2 of the United Nations.
  1. Ministerial Decision on World Food Programme (WFP) Food Purchases Exemptions from Export Prohibitions or Restrictions
  1. Members shall not impose export prohibitions or restrictions on foodstuffs purchased for noncommercial humanitarian purposes by the World Food Programme.
  2. This Decision shall not be construed to prevent the adoption by any Member of measures to ensure its domestic food security in accordance with the relevant provisions of the WTO agreements.
  1. Ministerial Declaration on the WTO Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Preparedness for Future Pandemics
  2. Ministerial Decision on the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

In October 2020, India and South Africa requested a temporary waiver to intellectual property protections that would allow countries to produce versions of Covid-19 products more easily. Despite receiving support from more than 100 countries, this draft has stalled due to opposition from a small number of wealthy states. 

A new draft ministerial decision spearheaded by the WTO Director General (WT/MIN(22)/W/15) but largely based on proposals from the European Union, was discussed and eventually adopted at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) held from 12 to 17 June 2022. Rather than waive intellectual property protections, it provides some clarifications to current “flexibilities” and a narrow exception to an export restriction on Covid-19 vaccines for the duration of five years.

  1. An Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies

If comprehensive disciplines are not adopted within four years of the entry into force of this Agreement, and unless otherwise decided by the (WTO) General Council, this Agreement shall stand immediately terminated," said article 12 of the agreement on fisheries subsidies.\

India strongly opposed the article in the draft that required developing countries to do away with subsidies that contribute to overfishing and overcapacity within 7 years of the agreement coming into effect, or up to 2030. Instead, India sought a 25-year transition period as the sector still requires support in developing countries to protect the livelihoods of low-income fishermen.

These subsidies include the ones given for construction, acquisition, modernization or upgrade of vessels; purchase of machines and equipment for vessels including fishing gear and engine, refrigerators; and for insurance and social charges.

Current Affair 2:
E- commerce issue at WTO: With respect to India

News: Why India opposes continuation of moratorium on customs duties on e-com trade?

E-Commerce: It includes purchasing physical goods or electronic data/video through online platforms. So, whether I am ordering 'Maggi' or 'downloading movies (electronic transmission)' on amazon/amazon-prime... both constitute e-commerce.

The present issue in WTO is regarding 'electronic transmission'.

When we order Maggi or any other physical product from amazon and suppose that product is being imported/sourced from some other country then still Govt. of India is able to collect Customs/Import Duty on those items as it comes through the ports (Customs zone). But when we download movies (electronic transmission) from 'amazon prime' then WTO 164 member countries do not charge any customs duty till now.

What Developed Countries want?

They want that all countries should commit that Customs Duty will never be imposed on electronic transmission.

What Developing Countries like India wants?

We do not want to commit this because presently our e-commerce market is evolving and we are not very sure how it will turn up in future and once we commit that we will never impose customs duty on electronic transmission (import of movies/data/video) then Govt. will loose revenue and more specifically it will lose the freedom to impose customs duty in future.

So, generally what happens in WTO is that somehow, we (developing countries) promise that, ok, we will not impose customs duty on electronic transmission till next Ministerial Conference and this promise has got extended at every Ministerial Conference (MC). And this happened in present (12th) Ministerial Conference as well.

Current Affair 3:
Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD)

Important points we have covered. So read every point.

Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is caused by infection of cattle or water buffalo with the poxvirus Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV). The virus is one of three closely related species within the genus capripoxvirus, the other two species being Sheeppox virus and Goatpox virus.

LSD was first described in Zambia in 1929.

The lumps gradually open up like large and deep wounds. In some cases — under 10 per cent according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) — the infected animal succumbs to the disease.

According to a risk assessment report by FAO, the disease spread to seven countries till the end of 2020 — reaching China and India in August 2019, Nepal in June 2020, Taiwan in July 2020, Bhutan and Vietnam in October 2020 and Hong Kong in November 2020.

In India, which has the world’s highest 303 million heads of cattle, the disease has spread to 15 states within just 16 months. In fact, in August 2019, when the first outbreak of LSD was reported from Odisha, five districts were grappling with the exotic cattle pox.

 

Due to the infectious nature of LSD and its implications on the economy — decreased milk production, abortions and infertility and damaged hides due to cutaneous nodules and fibrous tissue growth cause significant economic losses to farmers — the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) declares it as a notifiable disease. This means a country must inform OIE about any outbreak of the disease so that it can be contained.

Treatment

There is no treatment for the virus, so prevention by vaccination is the most effective means of control. Secondary infections in the skin may be treated with Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDs) and also antibiotics (topical +/- injectable) when appropriate.

Current Affair 4:
National Green Tribunal.

The National Green Tribunal has been established on under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property.

Composition:

The chairperson shall be appointed by the central government in consultation with the chief justice of India. Judicial member & expert member shall be appointed on the recommendations of select committee as provided by the central government.

Chairperson, judicial member & expert member shall hold office for a term of 5 years but shall not be eligible for re- appointment.

Removal and suspension of Chairperson, Judicial Member and Expert Member:

Jurisdiction:

 

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