G20 trade meet: PM Modi urges member nations to place special focus on farmers, MSMEs


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday called upon G20 nations to pay more attention to farmers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) because of their key role in the global economy. He also underscored the importance of small businesses for India by giving a new definition to MSME – ‘Maximum Support to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises’.

PM Modi expressed faith in the multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which needs to be reformed to meet emerging challenges. “India believes in a rules-based, open, inclusive, multilateral trading system, with the WTO at its core. India has advocated the concerns of the Global South at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. We were able to forge consensus on safeguarding the interests of millions of farmers and small businesses.”

“MSMEs account for 60-70% of employment and contribute 50% to the global GDP. They need our continued support. Their empowerment translates to societal empowerment,” the Prime Minister said in a video message to G20 members at the opening of the two-day trade and investment ministerial meeting (TIMM) being held in Jaipur.

The Group of Twenty (G20) comprises 19 countries – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom and United States and the European Union. The G20 members represent around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.

“For us, MSME means ‘Maximum Support to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises’. India has integrated MSMEs into public procurement through our online platform – Government e-marketplace,” PM said.

“We have been working with our MSME sector to adopt the ethos of ‘Zero Defect’ and ‘Zero Effect’ on the environment. Increasing their participation in global trade and Global Value Chains has been a priority of the Indian presidency,” he added.

He hoped that the two-day ‘Jaipur Initiative’ will foster seamless flow of information to MSMEs, and address the challenge of inadequate access to market and business-related information faced by MSMEs. “I am also confident that the upgrade of the Global Trade Help Desk will increase participation of MSMEs in global trade,” he added.

The Prime Minister said trade and globalisation have also lifted hundreds of millions out of extreme poverty.

He called for building “resilient and inclusive global value chains that can withstand future shocks.” In this context, India’s proposal to create a Generic Framework for Mapping Global Value Chains is important. This framework aims to assess vulnerabilities, minimize risks, and enhance resilience, Modi said.

“Current global challenges, from the pandemic to geopolitical tensions, have tested the world economy. As G20, it is our responsibility to rebuild confidence in international trade and investments,” he said

The Prime Minister said that Indian economy is seen by the world with “optimism and confidence” and India has embarked on the journey to become world’s third largest economy. “India is seen as a combination of openness, opportunities and options. During the last nine years, India has become the fifth largest global economy. This is the result of our sustained efforts. We embarked on the journey of ‘Reform, Perform, and Transform’ in 2014.”

“We have increased competitiveness, and enhanced transparency. We have expanded digitisation, and promoted innovation. We have established dedicated freight corridors and built industrial zones. We have moved away from red tape to red carpet and liberalized FDI flows. Initiatives like Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat have given a boost to manufacturing. Above all, we have brought policy stability. We are committed to make India the third largest global economy in the next few years,” he added.

He urged the G20 to harness technology’s transformative power in trade. “India’s shift to an online single indirect tax – the GST – helped create a single internal market boosting inter-state trade. Our Unified Logistics Interface Platform makes trade logistics cheaper and more transparent. Another game changer is ‘Open Network for Digital Commerce’ (ONDC), which will democratize our digital marketplace ecosystem. We have already done that with our Unified Payments Interface for payment systems. Digitizing processes and use of e-commerce have the potential to enhance market access,” he said.

“I am glad that your group is working on the ‘High Level Principles for the Digitalization of Trade Documents’. These principles can help countries in implementing cross-border electronic trade measures, and reduce compliance burdens. As cross-border E-commerce continues to grow, there are challenges as well. We need to work collectively to ensure equitable competition between large and small sellers. We also need to address the problems faced by consumers in fair price discovery and grievance handling mechanisms,” he added.

He said it is the collective responsibility of the G20, to restore confidence in international trade and investment processes. “I am confident that you will work collectively to ensure that the global trading system gradually transitions into a more representative and inclusive future,” he added