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WTO Clinches Historic Global Trade Deal

by Mike Godfrey,, New York

11 December 2013

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has hailed a landmark global trade deal reached after more than a decade of troubled negotiations.

The Bali Ministerial Conference concluded on December 07, 2013, a day later than scheduled, culminating in an agreement on a package designed to streamline trade, improve food security in developing countries, and boost trade and development in the least developed countries.

In an emotional announcement WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo declared: "We have put the world back into the World Trade Organization. For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered."

Earlier this month the director-general warned that the trade talks were on the brink of collapse. Disagreements between the 159 WTO member states repeatedly hampered the negotiation process, but they were able to clinch an eleventh hour agreement and present a package to trade ministers for discussion at their meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

The deal is expected to boost the world economy by the equivalent of USD1 trillion per year, and it will benefit people all around the world, especially the poor, the unemployed and the vulnerable, Mr Azevedo said.

The secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Angel Gurria, welcomed the December 07 agreement, saying that the trade facilitation part of the package would cut red tape and speed border crossings worldwide. "That a deal was reached in Bali is not only good news for the world economy, it's a victory for multilateralism," he said. "The WTO has proved it can bridge differences across diverse views and build on countries' shared interest in a well-functioning and rules-based international trading system."

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, said: "The breakthrough agreement reached in Bali by the World Trade Organization (WTO) reaffirms the commitment of the international community to an open trade system which boosts global growth and jobs, and cuts poverty."

The Bali package is a selection of issues from the broader Doha Round negotiations, which began in 2001. Mr Azevedo urged WTO members to now focus on completing other aspects of the round, which is known semi-officially as the Doha Development Agenda.

TAGS: tax | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | agreements | Indonesia | trade

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