The 9th WTO Ministerial Conference was concluded on 6 December 2013 at Bali, Indonesia. The Ministerial Conference has agreed on the revised draft of Bali Package.
The Ministerial Conference was held in Bali, Indonesia from 3 to 6 December 2013 and attended by 159 WTO Member countries representatives.
• During the conference, the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed to allow countries to provide subsidy on staple food crops without any threat of punitive action.
• In this regard, the WTO has issued a revised draft of the Bali Package which addresses India's concerns on food security. The draft proposes an interim mechanism to safeguard minimum support prices to farmers against WTO caps till a permanent solution is adopted.
• The deal allows nations such as India to fix a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farm produce and to sell staple grains to the poor at subsidised rates.
• It also permits countries to store food grains to meet contingency requirements.
Trade Facilitation Agreement
• The 159-member WTO also agreed on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which is aimed at making international trade much easier by simplifying and streamlining custom procedures across the globe.
• The pact is billed to bring in gains worth 1 trillion Dollars for global trade. The TFA would help countries cut transaction costs.
• The trade facilitation will also help developing countries including India to reduce transaction cost and improve competitiveness of domestic industry
India Point of view
1.Food Security Law may push India’s Minimum Support Prices (MSP) above WTO limits, but interim mechanism provides safeguards till WTO rules are corrected.
2.WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation could boost India’s exports
3.India gains global leadership by getting a crucial poor-rich country imbalance corrected on a multilateral forum
4.Support subsidies to poor farmers across all developing countries get safeguards against WTO rule.
About Ministerial Conferences
Ministerial Conference is- the topmost decision-making body of the WTO. The Ministerial Conference, usually meets every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions. The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreement.
About World Trade Organization
WTO was established with the signing of the Marrakesh Agreement/ Marrakesh Declaration at Marrakesh, Morrocco in 1994. WTO came up as a replacement of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). GATT was overseeing the rules of commerce since 1948. GATT covered trade in goods, whereas WTO deals with trade of inventions, designs and services too. The World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible
Fact File of WTO
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Established: 1 January 1995
Created by: Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-94)
Membership: 159 countries on 2 March 2013
Budget: 196 million Swiss francs for 2011
Secretariat staff: 640
Head: Roberto Azevêdo (Director-General)
• Administering WTO trade agreements
• Forum for trade negotiations
• Handling trade disputes
• Monitoring national trade policies
• Technical assistance and training for developing countries
• Cooperation with other international organizations
When: 6 December 2013