Global inequalities pose a danger to ‘sustainability’ of trading system

Although the agreement at Bali had restored the world’s confidence in the multilateral trading system, “the Bali job is not yet over,” said Roberto Azevedo, Director-General, World Trade Organisation (WTO), on Tuesday. Speaking at the second day of the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) Partnership Summit, Mr. Azevedo said “effective implementation” of the decisions taken at the Bali Ministerial was key to the success of the Doha Round.

Mr.Azevedo said although the Bali agreement had the potential to increase the volume of global trade by $1 trillion and generate jobs for 21 million persons around the world, global inequalities posed a danger to the “sustainability” of the global trading system. “I do not believe in the simplistic view that (since) we are all part of a global production chain, everything is resolved,” he said. Terming the wide disparity in incomes — within and between countries — as an “important challenge” to sustainable growth, he urged WTO members to address the issue.

Mr.Azevedo said countries needed to adopt a “holistic approach” to the WTO negotiations on agriculture, market access to non-agriculture goods, and services.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma said the Bali Ministerial protected the right of developing countries to stockpile food to serve the national interest of providing food security to citizens.

B. Muthuraman, Vice-Chairman, Tata Steel, urged WTO member-countries to devote more attention to “liberalising movement of people between countries.”