WTO Regrouping Over Global Trade Deal 08/01 06:17
The World Trade Organization began regrouping Friday to see whether it is
still possible to finalize a major deal to boost global trade after a deadline
passed to formally adopt it.
GENEVA (AP) -- The World Trade Organization began regrouping Friday to see
whether it is still possible to finalize a major deal to boost global trade
after a deadline passed to formally adopt it.
The preliminary deal approved by the organization at a WTO summit last
December in Bali was estimated to increase world trade by $1 trillion over
time. The centerpiece of the eleventh-hour deal was an agreement on measures to
ease barriers to trade by simplifying customs procedures and making them more
But difficult topics of agriculture, market access and services were left
unfinished in that deal and WTO members had been due to finalize the terms
Key disagreements included India's demand for exemptions to its broad
government food subsidies to its farmers and poor consumers that have allegedly
undercut fair-market agriculture prices. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker traveled to India where they met Thursday
with government officials to try to salvage a deal.
The deadline's passing left the Geneva-based organization's 159 member
economies scrambling to figure out what they could do next.
"The fact we do not have a conclusion means that we are entering a new phase
in our work - a phase which strikes me as being full of uncertainties," WTO
Director-General Roberto Azevedo said in a statement addressed to member
"We have a natural hiatus in our calendar as people leave for the summer
break in the coming days," he said. "So I invite you all to use this time to
think carefully about what the next steps might be. I urge you to reflect long
and hard on the ramifications of this setback."