You are here: Home / Access to Knowledge / News & Media / National Conference: WTO, FTAs and Investment Treaties: Implications for development policy space

National Conference: WTO, FTAs and Investment Treaties: Implications for development policy space

by Prasad Krishna last modified Oct 02, 2015 03:41 AM
The conference was jointly organized by Focus on the Global South, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), Madhyam, MSF Access Campaign, National Working Group on Patent Laws and WTO (NWGPL), Public Services International (PSI) – South Asia, South Solidarity Initiative – ActionAid, Third Word Network (TWN), and Forum against FTAs. Nehaa Chaudhari attended the event.

Nehaa Chaudhari made a presentation on Copyright: Access to Knowledge in Free Trade Agreements?

Day 1:

9.00 to 9.30 : Registration

9.30 to 10.00: Welcome and Introduction,

Prof Murthy, ISID

Shri. TN Chaturvedi, President of ISID

Prof Goyal, ISID

Prof. Dinesh Abrol, ISID

Shalini Bhutani, Legal researcher

( The session will cover  objectives of the  meeting, meeting schedule with purpose  why people need to come forward and strategize and brief self-introduction by participants and state the introduction to the conference in very brief (2Mins to participants))

10.00 to 11.30: Session 1: Trade and Investment regimes: An overview of implications for development policy space

(The session will provide overview of macro-economic framework with the critical perspective over current state of play on WTO, FTAs and bilateral investment treaties (BITs)).

Chair: Shri. Muchkund Dubey, Centre for Social Development (CSD)


Panel of speakers:

Prof. Biswajit Dhar, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) – Current dynamics of trade and investment negotiations: Issues and options. (Synthesis of our views and what India should do – presentation of the background paper to the conference- Speech will cover elements of trade negotiations scenario, update on WTO, FTAs, BITs

Shri. Rajiv Kher, Former Commerce Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India - WTO negotiations: Challenges Ahead,

Deborah James, Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS) network:  Overview of recent developments in WTO negotiations and Challenges Ahead

Followed by Discussion:

11.30 to 11.45 Tea

11.45 to 1.30: Manufacturing sector and Challenges for policy space

(The session will provide an overview of challenges for employment and development emerging from proposed trade agreements such as NAMA, Information technology agreement (ITA), Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), and impact of FTAs. It will also critically analyze Global Value Chain arguments, Make in India initiative, protecting policy space, employment and trade union rights issues)

Chair: Prof. Biswajit Dhar, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)

Panel of speakers:

Smitha Francis, ISID – FTAs, NAMA, ITA and EGA – Implications for Manufacturing sector

Amb. Jayant Das Gupta, Former Ambassador of India to the WTO -  Issues and options in Non-Agricultural Market Access negotiations in WTO

Respondents: 5 to 7 Mins

Amitava Guha, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) / FMRI (TBC)

Gautam Mody, New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI)

Saji Narayanan, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS)

1.30 PM to 2.30 PM: Lunch

2.30 PM to 4.00 PM: Services Liberalization and Privatization – Part 1

(The session will focus on RCEP, TPP and TISA highlighting the corporate agenda in services liberalization. The session will then look at key sectors evaluating the extent of liberalization that has taken place and routes through which development policy is being lost.)

Moderator: Benny Kuruvilla, South Solidarity Initiative

Services liberalization: The Corporate Agenda: Deborah James, CEPR

Banking and insurance sector liberalization: Prof. C.P.Chandra Sekhar


Banking sector Unions: Thomas Franko, All India State Bank Officers Association (TBC)

Insurance sector Union: V Narasimhan, All India National Life Insurance Employees Federation (AINLIEF)

4.00 to 4.15 Tea Break

4.15 to 6.00: Services Liberalisation – Part 2: Impacts on essential services

(The session will focus on key essential services and assess the extent of liberalisation achieved through different routes and the challenges posed by the TISA agenda).

Moderator: PSI

Panel of speakers: Health system: privatization and challenges to domestic regulation: Amit Sengupta, People’s Health Movement (PHM) – Challenges from autonomous liberalization and TISA, (Presentation will also cover the issue of Movement of health professional - debunking Mode 4.).

Privatization of education: Anil Sadagopal, All India Right to Education Forum Anil Sadagopal/ or JJ Thilak, National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA) (presentation will focus on Foreign universities) (TBC)

Privatisation of electricity: EAS Sharma (TBC)


Water sector: Jammu Anand, National Platform against water privatization / or someone from Karnataka

Day 2

9.30 AM to 11.30 AM: Trade policies and Agriculture: Challenges to food sovereignty and local communities


(The session will discuss challenges emerging from trade policies in the agriculture sector with the focus on WTO negotiations and India’s FTAs. It will also include views from representatives of farmers’ organizations)

Chair: Ranja Sengupta, TWN (We will say we are looking forward to strategy related suggestions)


Prof. Abhjit Das, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT): Agriculture and challenges emerging from trade negotiations / Ranja in case of (Speech will cover key agriculture issues in WTO Agreement on Agriculture and FTAs)

Afsar Jafri, Focus on the Global South – Food sovereignty, Peasant livelihood and free trade

Shalini Bhutani, Legal Researcher – Seeds and Intellectual Property Rights – implications for local communities

Responses (5 to 7 min.)-

Sridhar - ASHA

Biraj Patnaik - Right to Food Campaign -

Yudhvir Singh - Via Campasina

Kannaiyan - Via Campasina

Vijoo Krishnan  - All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS)

11.30 am to 11.45: Tea Break


11.45 to 1.15

Investment regime and Challenges for Development:

Moderator: Prof. Chimni, JNU

Kavaljit Singh, Madhyam: Investment regimes and challenges for development (20 min)

Prof. Chalapaty Rao, ISID: FDI and Development demystifying foreign investments' contribution to development (10 min)

Kajal Bharadwaj, ISDS case studies (health, mining and environment cases)

(The session will demystify issues around BIPAs and Foreign Direct investment. It will cover issues emerging from FTAs through BIPA, and review of BIPA with example of ISDS cases)


FDI in Retail: Dharmendra Kumar / Praveen

Natural resources and Infrastructure Investment: NAPM – Madhuresh /Forest Workers

Infrastructure Investment in North East: Ramananda Wangkheirakpam, North East Peoples’ Alliance (NEPA) 

1.15 to 2.15 Lunch Break

2.15 to 3.15: Session on Intellectual Property

Chair: Prof. Dinesh Abrol, ISID

Medicines - MSF Access Campaign

“TRIPS – State of Play in WTO negotiations” By Gopakumar, Third World Network (TWN)

“Copy rights: Access to knowledge” by  Neha Chowdhury (CIS)

3.15 to 5.15 The Way Forward

(Starts with presentation from moderators on key issues raised in sectoral sessions. From each section draw a broad conclusion and arrange them towards a declaration or statement of unity)

Chair: Prof. Deepak Nayyar

Moderators: Prof. Dinesh Abrol and Shalini Bhutani

Valedictory address by  Shri. S P Shukla (TBC)

Creating a Time line of key moments

4.00 to 4.15 Tea Break

4.15 to 5.45 Conclusion

5.45 to 6.00: Vote of Thanks

Filed under: