6 December 2013, 19:08

Brookings Institution expert: WTO can salvage credibility with deal in Bali

By Justin Mitchell

WASHINGTON (VOR)– The World Trade Organization, or WTO, was supposed to end its conference on Bali, Indonesia today.

But now, as Friday turns to Saturday across the world, the talks continue. Depending on whom you read or talk to, this conference is either on the threshold of generating an historic global trade agreement...or it is the WTO's last ditch chance to remain viable and relevant in today's world.

Since its founding in 1995, the WTO has failed to achieve its original goal—the adoption of international standards for trade between nations. Most notably, the failure to build upon 2001 negotiations in Doha, Qatar has become damaging to the WTO’s credibility. Earlier this week, India objected to the deal’s text concerning food subsidies, while on Friday Cuba took issue with language regarding the five-decade U.S. embargo on the Caribbean socialist country.

To learn more, VOR’s Justin Mitchell spoke with Joshua Meltzer, a Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. He focuses on global economics and development, and says that although there have been challenges to the deal from India and Cuba, it looks likely that at least a modest accord will be struck.

“The fact that it’s essentially gone overtime I think is a sign that they’re very, very close to clinching a deal. I think ministers would have called it a day a while ago if there was no prospect for being successful here.”

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