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WTO: A deal is still possible

Last updated: 04.12.2013 // During the opening session of the Ministerial Conference in Bali Tuesday Director General Azevedo told Members of the WTO that “A deal is still possible. It is in your hands. It’s now or never”.

Ministers and trade negotiators are currently in Bali where they attempt to conclude a deal, which would include an agreement on Trade Facilitation, as well as some issues on Agriculture and Development. Although most of the issues on the table in Bali have been solved during intensive negotiations in Geneva this autumn, negotiators still failed to conclude the deal prior to the Ministerial Conference. 

During Tuesday’s opening session, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono underlined that the WTO Members are collectively responsible for strengthening the multilateral trading system and for reaching an agreement on the Bali package. He also warned of the proliferation of regional and bilateral trade agreements that are partly caused by a lack of results from the Doha round so far. President Yudhoyono also stressed that trade is an important tool for combating poverty and that the issues at stake at Bali are not divisive North-South issues.

Director General Roberto Azevedo made it perfectly clear that the future of the WTO is at stake at Bali. He argued that the Bali package is significant, not only for each Member of the WTO, but also for the world economy. Among other things the Director General also pointed out that failure would mean that we fail the unemployed, the poor and the Least Developed Countries.

See the WTO’s website for the full statements from the opening session.

Ministers also discussed the expansion of the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement(GPA) in Bali Tuesday. The agreement has been renegotiated and the new and expanded agreement will likely enter into force in March 2014.

Norway's State Secretary Morten Høglund said that "The revised Agreement we agreed to two years ago confirms the importance of transparent measures in government procurement. This is important in order to avoid conflicts of interest and corrupt practices."

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