Ministers from 159 countries have sealed a historic deal on Saturday aiming at boosting global trade at a meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
The World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) first comprehensive agreement will simplify the customs procedures for doing business across borders, which has potential to create $1 trillion in economic activity and 21 million jobs, if properly implemented.
Commerce ministers – who have been involved in the historic Bali package that was stitched together after four days of marathon negotiations – roared and thumped desks as the deal was approved.
The historic agreement on international commerce but marks the first global agreement struck by the Geneva-based body since its 1995 founding. After the failure of 12-year-old elusive Doha Round of talks, “the WTO has truly delivered,” according to WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo. “We have put the ‘World’ back into the World Trade Organisation,” he told the juviliant delegates at Bali.
The meeting also formally accepted Yemen as the group’s 160th member. Yemen’s parliament within six months will have to ratify its accession.
Though, the first ever trade reform deal is still uncertainty over its effective implementation in underdeveloped countries like Nepal, the hard-fought nature of the talks indicated how difficult it could be for the body to make real progress on the Doha Round, launched in Qatar in 2001.
The Bali meet that started on December 3 ended on December 7 with a happy note.
The new agreement on trade facilitation is also expected to ease controls over flow of goods and services through ports and airports will be in place soon, apart from the outcomes on food security that is a big victory for multilateral trading system.
India has played a major role in the revival and re-energising the Doha Round of talks, according to Indian commerce and industry minister Ananda Sharma.

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