WTO members sign first-ever global deal on trade

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Bali, Indonesia (4E) – For the first time in two decades, World Trade Organization’s (WTO) member economies approved an agreement to boost global trade, a move that could add $1tn to the world economy.

Ministers from WTO’s 159-member countries approved on Saturday a “trade facilitation” accord that will set common customs standards and ease the flow of goods through borders all over the globe.

The ministers also made decisions on several issues such as how the WTO should take action on government food security programs as well as securing better market access for the world’s least developed nations to developed economies.

The deal is way short of the WTO’s ambitious but elusive goal of bringing down global trade barriers through its 12-year-old Doha Round of negotiations. But the agreement that was signed on the Indonesian resort island of Bali nevertheless represents the first worldwide agreement by the Geneva-based organization since it was founded in 1995.

The trade facilitation deal was immediately praised by business groups, saying it would give a much needed boost for the global economy. The International Chamber of Commerce predicts the deal will help lower the cost of doing trade by 10 percent to 15 percent and boost output by $1tn.

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