The World Trade Organisation has agreed to its first ever global deal that would add US$ 1 trillion to the global economy in trade by providing poor countries better access to developed markets.
The agreement simplifies trade procedures and also makes it easier for the poorest countries to sell their goods by reducing barriers to their exports.
It also gives developing nations more scope to use subsidies to safeguard food supplies.
The first ever trade reform deal on Saturday was approved by all 160 participating countries s whose ministers had gathered on the Indonesian island of Bali to decide on the make-or-break agreement .
The approval came after Cuba gave up on pushing its veto to the package of measures.
“For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered,” a tearful WTO chief Roberto Azevedo said.
“This time the entire membership came together. We have put the ‘world’ back in World Trade Organization,” he said.
Food security had been one of the most-hotly debated issues before the agreement was finally clinched.
“It is so agreed,” Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said at the Bali meeting, following marathon negotiations between trade ministers from 159 nations that lasted until the early hours of Saturday morning.
Cuba had been threatening to veto the package, citing that the deal was not enough to press the United States to lift its trade embargo on the island, but has eventually agreed.
“For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered,” said WTO chief Roberto Azevedo, as the organisation reached its first comprehensive agreement since it was founded in 1995.
The US trade representative, Michael Froman, had urged the WTO’s member economies to work past their differences.
“Leaving Bali this week without an agreement would deal a debilitating blow to the WTO as a forum for multilateral negotiations,” said Froman.
India’s commerce minister Anand Sharma, who led his country’s delegation, fought the hardest on the food security issue and was closeted in several behind-the-scene close-doors with Azevedo, Froman and Wirjawan.