International standards are generally adopted on the basis of the work of the three international standards bodies. Developing countries were unanimous in saying that they were more broadly lace-up in these debates, which in most cases leads to the development and adoption of international standards that do not take into account their development and implementation constraints. During the Seattle preparation process, my delegation attempted to make a decision that only the standards developed by the relevant international bodies, with the participation of developing countries, would be treated as international standards for SPS and OBT agreements. However, our major trading partners in industrialized countries have not been able to support this decision. India is concerned that the BIS and hygiene expert bodies are participating in the political decision-making bodies of international bodies such as ISO, Codex alimentarius, etc., but that developing countries are more widely underestimated in these discussions, which sometimes leads to the development of standards that do not promote their implementation. India firmly believes that, given our lack of access to technologies developed abroad to achieve standards acceptable to importing countries, members of industrialized countries must take specific steps to implement the clauses that India, as a developing country, extends to India in implementing these WTO agreements. The Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation was recently established with 13 other countries in the region. The Association`s Charter was adopted in March 1997. Economic cooperation must take place in the areas of trade facilitation, promotion and liberalization, promotion of foreign investment, scientific and technological cooperation, tourism, the free movement of individuals and service providers, and the development of infrastructure and human resources. An enabling clause to identify other areas of cooperation is also included. India has also signed sub-regional agreements with Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan, most recently with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Details of the agreement, known as BISTEC, are being worked out. Wadhawan said the least developed countries and developing countries, such as India, would suffer more damage because of the impasse in which they were appointed to the WTO appeals body, which is an integral part of the trade dispute settlement system.