Five recommendations developed under ICC initiative, including implementation of duty-free and quota-free market access for exports from least-developed countries, could achieve tangible outcomes by the end of 2013, to harvest gains from the WTO’s Doha Development Round.
“Conclude a trade facilitation agreement, phase out agricultural export subsidies, renounce food export restrictions and expand trade in IT products and encourage growth of e-commerce worldwide are other four recommendations developed for Bali WTO Ministerial Meeting,” said a news bulletin of the International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh (ICC,B) released on Thursday.
With more than 3,000 agreements on investment already in place, it is time to move towards a single multilateral framework to facilitate cross-border investment, which will encourage to economic growth and job creation.
The WTO (World Trade Organization) 9th Biannual Ministerial Conference is taking place in Bali, on December 3-6.
The race to agree on a deal at the Bali Conference is not only an opportunity to slash the cost of shipping goods around the world, it also represents what many experts see as the last chance to restore confidence in WTO’s ability to reform global trade rules.
If there is no deal in Bali, the risk for the WTO is that major trading powers, which are already spending much more energy on bilateral deals than on the push for a global agreement, would give up for good. Some experts say that these could foster the growth of rival trading blocs and deepen divisions, the opposite of what the WTO was meant to achieve, it said.
For the past 60 years, trade has been a driver of growth and employment. This engine of the world economy is threatened by the stalemate in multilateral trade negotiations.
The increase in trade and investment restrictions fueled by the global economic downturn is damaging the business climate and prospects for recovery, precisely when global trade and investment liberalization could provide a debt-free and much-needed boost to world economic growth.
Trade facilitation is a series of measures whereby countries reduce red tape and simplify customs and other procedures for handling goods at borders.
An agreement on trade facilitation should significantly reduce costs, speed up and streamline administrative and other official procedures as well as create a more transparent, predictable and efficient environment for cross-border trade.
A WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement would, thus, add significant momentum to these initiatives, leading to even greater reductions in trade costs.
Several hundred business leaders and trade experts at the ICC World Trade Agenda Summit held in Doha on 22 April this year, considered a set of recommendations finalized by ICC on behalf of global business for WTO Member Countries to salvage parts of on-going Doha trade negotiations that could heighten global GDP by US$960 billion.
It was observed that by simplifying customs procedures – through trade facilitation measures – alone, member countries would deliver global job gains of 21 million, with developing countries gaining more than 18 million jobs and developed countries increasing their workforce by three million.
It is estimated that the payoff from liberalizing trade in services could generate world trade gains of US$1.1 trillion, which would translate into global employment gains of nine million jobs.
ICC is committed to a strong and effective WTO, one whose members collectively negotiate the lowering of trade barriers and the strengthening of global trade rules. ICC’s World Trade Agenda initiative includes a longer-term proposal that governments should begin discussions towards a multilateral framework on investment.