As was expected, on Day 2 of the Ninth World Trade Organisation Ministerial in Bali, a deal seemed out of reach, with India favouring failure of the summit over a compromise.
Addressing the Plenary, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma not only stated that India could not accept the due restraint provision in its current form but also that “we consider it premature to lend support to an inconclusive trade facilitation agreement.”
U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman said at the Plenary that at this moment, success at Bali could not be taken for granted.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel DeGucht warned that “the storm clouds of failure are right above us.”
India’s outright rejection of both the contentious clauses of the proposed “Bali Package,” said official sources, was expected to open up room for further negotiations with the rich countries that are pushing for the trade facilitation proposal and along with the host Indonesia and WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, are keen on a package. A failure in at Bali will be a debilitating blow to the WTO as a multilateral negotiating forum, said the USTR in his Plenary address.