Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies travelled to New Delhi in India on Sunday to attend an informal World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministers meeting on March 19 and 20, the Trade and Industry Department (dti) said.

The WTO meeting followed the 11th WTO ministerial conference (MC11) in Buenos Aires, Argentina from December 10 to 13 last year, the dti said in a statement.

The lack of substantial outcomes at the MC11, especially on outstanding issues in the Doha Development Agenda, revealed the scope and depth of divergences among countries. It also highlighted the lack of a shared understanding between countries on development.

Speaking at the conclusion of the MC11, Davies said, “We missed an opportunity for a political conversation on what is multilateralism and how does it promote prosperity and inclusive growth for all of us.”

The purpose of the informal WTO ministers meeting in New Delhi was for ministers to engage in free and frank discussions on the issues in the WTO to safeguard and strengthen the multilateral trading system, the dti said.

The Indian government was organising the meeting and had expressed the hope that it would lead to political guidance on some of the major issues at the negotiating table and also provide an opportunity for ministers to share ideas on issues they considered to be critical for reinvigorating the WTO.

“The meeting is taking place at a time when global trade is going through a period of uncertainty with an increase in protectionism in some countries and a backlash against trade agreements and globalisation due to lack of inclusive growth. It therefore offers an opportunity to engage on fundamental issues that affect global trade,” the dti said.