- THE MAGAZINE
The WTO’s Bali Ministerial Conference has brought forth an agreement on a package of issues designed to streamline trade, allowing developing countries more options for providing food security, boost least developed countries’ trade and help development more generally.
The World Trade Organization, or WTO, announced its first ever global trade deal, overcoming disagreements that troubled negotiations among ministers from 159 member nations who had gathered on the Indonesian island of Bali.
The historic agreement, which could contribute nearly $1 trillion to the world economy, cuts through red tape and streamlines customs and port procedures, and also makes it easier for the world’s poorest nations to export to richer markets.
The breakthrough was achieved after Cuba withdrew a threat to veto the deal, as it does not help end a U.S. embargo on the Caribbean island nation, but later agreed on a compromise with the U.S.
“For the first time in our history: the WTO has truly delivered,” said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. “I challenged you all, here in Bali, to show the political will we needed to take us across the finish line. You did that. And I thank you for it.”
The Bali Package is a selection of issues from the broader Doha Round negotiations. Echoing calls from many delegations, Mr Azevêdo, said members’ attention should now turn the rest of the round, known semi-officially as the Doha Development Agenda.