WTO confident of success in Doha talks

WTO confident of success in Doha talks

 Buoyed by the success of the deal arrived in Bali last December by all the 160-member countries on trade facilitation, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reiterated its confidence of achieving a similar breakthrough in the Doha round of talks within 12 months.

“The process of implementation of Bali agreements has already begun among member countries. We are now focusing on concluding the Doha round of talks. We have until the end of the year time to figure out,” the Director General of WTO, Roberto Azevedo said.

His reiteration came while interacting with reporters after a panel discussion on “Entering into a New Trade Era Post Bali” organised on the second day of the CII Partnership Summit 2014 here on Tuesday.

The Bali deal is a trade facilitation agreement to make movement of goods cheaper and easier globally by improving customs procedures, while the Doha talks, referred to as Doha Development Agenda (DDA) that commenced in 2001, aims to lower trade barriers and enhance global trade.

During the panel discussion, he said that the Bali agreement could not be more “propitious” and has the potential to increase global trade by about $1 trillion and add about 21 million jobs globally and added that the challenge is to “keep up the momentum” to ensure fruition of DDA.

Simultaneously, Azevedo advised member countries to be “honest” and strike a balance to achieve it. “They should find a balance between ambition and realism. We must be realistic on things that are doable.”

He said that the global economy continues to remain stressed and India is not immune to the lingering effects of the crisis, while asking India to play a promiment role in drawing up a post-Bali programme.

Later, Union Commerce Minister said that India was always in favour of a trade facilitation agreement but on terms that were broadly acceptable to both developed and developing countries. “We were held to ransom by outdated agreements that had an inherent imbalance against developing countries,” he said.

Sharma said that the Bali agreement reaffirmed the centrality of WTO and has energised the stalled Doha round of talks on services. According to him, it was important to bring down transaction costs, especially for developing countries to boost exports.

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