“For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered”. So said WTODirector-General Roberto Azevêdo on the historic signing of the Bali package. But the question is what will be the actual outcome of the Bali package?
For the first time since its inception in 1995, the WTO members rose to put their hands together for the successful conclusion of the Bali Package at its Ninth Ministerial Conference, the first multilateral trade agreement negotiated at the WTO. The Bali Package is not a proxy of beleaguered Doha round trade talks. Rather it is an attempt to achieve some advancement on the Doha Development Agenda which aims at loosening trade barriers around the world, and thus facilitate development through increased global trade.
One of the most important features of the Bali Package was “trade facilitation”. Trade facilitation is WTO-speak for cutting the red tape that slows the movement of goods and services across international borders. Such a move has been welcomed by businesses such as UPS who have to deal with plenty of checkpoints and restrictions in their businesses. According to Pascal Lamy, the predecessor of General Roberto Azevêdo, a trade facilitation deal could give a $1 trillion boost to world economy. Though the developing nations are likely to gain the most from this deal as their custom procedures are more convoluted in comparison to developed nations, however there is no guarantee of the benefits flowing proportionately to developing countries. Also, poorer nations raised their concerns about being bound to rules that they might struggle to implement and demanded assistance for adopting new custom reforms.
Food security was considered as the most crucial issue at the Bali’s meetings that had alien...
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...in case of developing countries as compared to developed nations, the waivers and preferential treatment to institute mechanisms that ensure quicker goods transit shall enable developing countries, particularly the least developed countries to increase their stake in the global economy rapidly than they could have independently.
The Bali Package is more rational and streamlined and with limited number of issues under discussion provides greater opportunity to developing nations to affect the outcome, thereby reducing the impetus to derail negotiations. The developing countries are likely to gain more from the Package in comparison to more restricted and smaller partnerships such as Trans-Pacific Partnership in which developed nations brandish more power.
Indeed Bali Package is just a beginning for economic prosperity of the developed as well as developing nations.
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