WTO members reached key trade agreement

Last week the 160 members of the World Trade Organisation have agreed to implement a historic global trade agreement reached in Bali last December.

 The member states had adopted two texts: the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), aimed at streamlining global customs procedures, and one on the management of food stockpiles.

These two texts were agreed upon late last year in Bali, but had been stalled since July, when India refused to endorse the pact unless its food stockpiles were exempted from possible punitive measures.

India and its supporters in the developing world have argued that food stockpiling is essential to ensure poor farmers and consumers survive in the cutthroat world of business.

But stockpiling and subsidies for the poor are considered trade-distorting under existing WTO rules.

Finally, India and the United States said earlier this month that they had resolved the row.

According to analytics, the historic agreement could cut the cost of trade by up to 15 percent, boost the global flow of goods, accelerate economic growth and add up to 20 million new jobs, most of them in developing nations.

An estimated $1 trillion will be added to the global economy through new rules on customs and cross-border trade that were reached at the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in Geneva on Nov. 27, the organization said in a statement.

The measures included would eliminate paperwork, make rules more transparent, fast-track some low-risk shipments, and create ‘single windows’ for importers and exporters to pay fees and submit documents.

The approach agreed upon by both countries was endorsed by the WTO general council.

The Bali Package of reforms is the largest trade deal in the WTO’s history and intends to improve global standards and procedures for expedited shipments and create a single window for the submission of manifests to all relevant government agencies.

The Agility CEO said by salvaging the agreement, the WTO received “much-needed credibility” and restored viability in the multi-lateral trade negotiation process.

Stay informed with RCL Agencies updates about global trade and international shipping.