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Can WTO deliver on its trade deal?

Monday, December 09, 2013 - 01:51

Dec. 9 - The World Trade Organisation says its first ever global trade deal will inject around a trillion dollars of new business into the world economy and create 21 million jobs. As David Pollard reports not everyone is convinced by the figures although it may restore some confidence in an organisation many thought was floundering.

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Rare - and for the euro zone, welcome - news. A drop in the German trade surplus - taking it to 16.8 billion euros, where 18 billion had been expected. The lower number means Germany is buying a bit more from European neighbours - doing a bit more to boost their struggling economies. International trade is still an unlevel playing field. A new agreement from the World Trade Organisation might, though, smooth out a few bumps. The WTO's first major deal since its creation in 1995, it was thrashed out in Bali. SOUNDBITE (English) INDONESIAN TRADE MINISTER GITA WIRJAWAN SAYING: "Bali package, it is so agreed." The deal promises extra growth and employment worldwide. And for Chris Hughes of Reuters Breakingviews a deal at all is something. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) CHRIS HUGHES, EDITOR, REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS , SAYING: ''I wouldn't knock this. The fact that you have got 159 members all agreeing something which actually adds up to a trillion dollars on global GDP, nearly one and a half per cent is not to be sniffed at.'' Some question those figures and a claim of 20 million extra jobs. Others say the scale and complexity of the WTO bargaining process renders it irrelevant. For this deal, India had to be persuaded to put aside objections - temporarily - to changes in its farm subsidies. And a veto threat by Cuba dragged the talks into an extra day. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) CHRIS HUGHES, EDITOR, REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS , SAYING: ''There is a school of thought out there which says, look, you don't need these big WTO rounds, you can just have some periodical agreement between the US and Europe or whatever it is. I mean, they probably all work in tandem. But, you know, on this occasion, they were still able to get something agreed despite the opposition.'' But the deal still needs to be ratified by two thirds of member states. A process which at best could take several years.

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Can WTO deliver on its trade deal?

Monday, December 09, 2013 - 01:51