Government forms High Level Advisory Group (HLAG) on trade to identify opportunities for India

Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu has approved setting up of a High Level Advisory Group (HLAG) to identify trade opportunities for India and to address challenges in the current global scenario, an official said on Friday.

“The HLAG will consider ways for boosting India’s share and importance in global merchandise and services trade, managing pressing bilateral trade relations and mainstreaming new age policy making,” the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

The HLAG’s terms of reference include examining the prevailing international trade dynamics, rising protectionist tendencies in major economies and non-engagement by some countries on outstanding trade negotiation issues and commitments, including the Doha Development Agenda, to build consensus and common understanding.

The group, chaired by Oxus Research and Investments Director Surjit S. Bhalla, will meet regularly over the next two months and make recommendations in light of the ToR, including on each of the areas, to facilitate formulation of future trade policies.

“Centre for WTO Studies (CWTOS), New Delhi shall provide the secretariat to the HLAG,” the statement said.

The group will provide options for a balanced approach in creating a conducive global trade framework in a consensual manner acceptable to the larger global community.

“The Group may consider possible approaches and suggest a pragmatic framework for India’s future engagement in international trade, and the manner in which it can play a proactive and constructive role in working with the community of Nations in exploring and building consensus on resolving emergent trade related issues,” it said.

The other members of the group include former Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, former Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher and Principal Economic Advisor to Finance Ministry Sanjeev Sanyal.

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