Several members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have expressed frustration after India’s demands for concessions on the stockpiling of agricultural products led to the collapse of the first major global trade reform pact in the last twenty years.
Ministers of the WTO had already agreed to the global reform of customs procedures known as “trade facilitation” last December at a meeting in Bali, Indonesia. However, they were unable to overcome India’s last minute objections and get it into the WTO rule book by the deadline on July 31.
“We have not been able to find a solution that would allow us to bridge that gap,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo told trade diplomats in Geneva, just two hours before the final deadline for a deal lapsed at midnight.
The pact was supposed to be rubber-stamped this week, which would mark a unique success the in the WTO’s nearly 20-year-long history and add over $1 trillion and 21 million jobs to the global economy. At least, that’s what most diplomats expected to happen.
It was a shock to everyone when India unveiled its veto, and the eleventh-hour failure has drawn strong criticism from across the globe, not to mention s rumblings about the future of the organization and the multilateral system that it underpins.
“Australia is deeply disappointed that it has not been possible to meet the deadline. This failure is a great blow to the confidence revived in Bali that the WTO can deliver negotiated outcomes,” Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb said on Friday. “There are no winners from this outcome – least of all those in developing countries which would see the biggest gains.”
Read more about the story at The Wall Street Journal.