The Malta Independent 20 August 2019, Tuesday

Malta welcomes WTO agreement

Malta Independent Sunday, 8 December 2013, 08:40 Last update: about 6 years ago

Malta welcomed yesterday’s historic agreement at the World Trade Organisation, where a deal was struck in Bali to boost global trade and which was approved by the WTO’s 159 member economies for the first time in nearly two decades, keeping alive the possibility that a broader agreement to create a level playing field for rich and poor countries can be reached in the future.

Commenting yesterday from Bali, Economy, Investment and Small Business Minister Chris Cardona expressed Malta’s satisfaction with the deal, “We want to thank the Commission for the very positive stance that was taken during these negotiations. We feel that our interests have been respected throughout the process. Malta also wants to reaffirm its gratitude to the Director General of WTO, Roberto Azevedo, for the tremendous work he has carried out in recent months.”

Dr Cardona added, “As an island state, and with an economy that is very dependent on international trade, our view is that the Trade Facilitation Agreement will have economic benefits for all including developing economies.”

 On Food Security, Dr Cardona held that Malta views the compromise reached as acceptable. However, he emphasised that in the coming years Malta must be assured that distortions in the food commodity markets are avoided and urged the Commission to be more pro-active in monitoring the sector.

Malta has also welcomed an agreement on the package relating to development issues. Dr Cardona said the Maltese government believes that EU member states have an important role to play in this regard and the various issues addressed in the package will help developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, better integrate in the world trading system.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo shed tears during the summit’s closing ceremony yesterday as he thanked host nation Indonesia, WTO member countries and his wife.

“We have put the world back into the World Trade Organisation,” he said. “For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered.”

Trade ministers had come to the four-day WTO meeting with little hope that an agreement would be reached after years of inertia in trade negotiations. The talks were threatened at the eleventh hour when Cuba objected to removal of a reference to the decades-long US trade embargo that Cuba wants lifted.

The deal could boost global trade by US$1 trillion over time and also keeps alive the WTO’s broader Doha Round of trade negotiations, sometimes known as the development round because of sweeping changes in regulations, taxes and subsidies that would benefit low income countries.

The idea behind the WTO is that if all countries play by the same trade rules, then all countries, rich or poor, will benefit.

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