WTO Makes History With Landmark Trade Deal

Representatives from each member nation have agreed on the deal, but it still needs approval from each member state’s government.

After reporting on Friday that a deal agreement was looking rather bleak, the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced its first ever global trade deal on Saturday, overcoming the food security disagreements that caused a rift in the negotiations among ministers from 159 member nations who had gathered on the Indonesian island of Bali.

The agreement, which is being reported to have the impact of 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,” WTO chief Roberto Azevedo said to a Reuters. “This time the entire membership came together. We have put the ‘world’ back in World Trade Organization,” he said. “We’re back in business. ... Bali is just the beginning.”

“It is good for both developed and developing members alike,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

The first deal since WTO’s inception in 1995 is expected to create more than 20 million jobs worldwide, and also restore faith in the organization’s standing as an effective global partnership. The WTO’s achievement also evoked memories of talks in December 1993, when world nations agreed on the last global trade deal, which was for the creation of the WTO, according to Reuters.

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