Business, Freight News

WTO agrees historic trade deal

[ December 9, 2013   //   ]

The World Trade Organization has agreed a potentially revolutionary trade deal at its summit in bali over the weekend of 7-8 December. In what is billted as the first truly global trade deal sice the WTO replaced the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) organisation in the mid 1990s, ministers finally negotiated most the remaining stumbling blocks, including food security and trade facilitation, following long weeks of negotiations, during which the chances of success often seemed slim. The so-called Doha Round of negotiations has been going on for the past 12 years.

In fact, so fraught had the multinational process become that the EU and US had started to negotiate bilateral deals with major trading nations such as South Korea rather than wait for the long and cumbersome WTO negotiations to bear fruit.

Unlike previous trade deals, the WTO agreement will concentrate on trade facilitation and the removal of red tape as much as on the reduction of import tariffs. During the negotiations, it was pointed out that it can take days or even weeks for imported or exported goods to be finally cleared into or out of some African countries. The deal is said to potentially add about $1 trillion to the value of world trade.

UPS chairman and CEO, Scott Davis, hailed the agreement, saying: “While there remain areas where additional progress is necessary, the trade facilitation agreement provides a new base from which we can continue to elevate customs standards. This could further support the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations.”

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