Fail: India derails WTO talks

Negotiations for the first major global accord in the World Trade Organisation’s 19-year history which would have standardised customs rules, collapsed today over food-subsidy objections raised by India.


Fail: India derails WTO talks


Negotiations for the first major global accord in the World Trade Organisation’s 19-year history which would have standardised customs rules, collapsed today over food-subsidy objections raised by India.

Negotiators for a Trade Facilitation Agreement at WTO headquarters in Geneva failed to agree as a midnight deadline passed to implement part of the accord by the end of July as India refused to proceed without assurances the pact would allow it to keep protections for its domestically produced food.

“We tried everything we could. But it has not proved possible,” WTO directorgeneral Roberto Azevedo, said in a statement. WTO ministers had already reached agreement on the global reform of customs procedures known as ‘trade facilitation’ last December in Bali, but it needed to be put into the WTO rule book by 31 July.

Most diplomats saw that as rubberstamping a unique success in the WTO’s 19 year history, which according to some estimates would add US$1 trillion and 21 million jobs to the world economy and were caught off guard by India’s veto of the agreement.

Logistics and supply chain sectors had trumpeted the Bali agreement as a crucial step in enabling freer trade that would bring welcome relief to their industry. “This is a tragic failure,” said Agility CEO Tarek Sultan. “Virtually every trading nation stood to benefit from this deal, which would have added up to $1 trillion to the world economy. There simply are too many obstacles to the flow of goods across borders – and they benefit no one.