Ministers of Trade from around the world gather at the WTO Conference on Bali


On December 3-6, 2013, ministers of trade from 159 countries will gather on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on the 9th Ministerial Conference of the WTO.

From the Russian part the Minister of Economic Development Alexey Ulyukaev will participate in the conference.

During the conference, participants are expected to discuss the package of documents compiled on the basis of common understandings of the Doha round of talks (so-called "Bali Package"), which, if adopted, should become the first multilateral trade agreement since the establishment of the WTO in 1995.

The draft document includes an agreement on facilitation of trade procedures, and a series of decisions on individual issues of agriculture and development. The first section is connected with the obligations of countries on the simplification of customs procedures to facilitate the movement of trade flows, the second section of the text on facilitation of trade procedures includes provisions for special and differential treatment for developing countries and the provision of related technical assistance, as well as creating by the developed countries of the potential to comply with the provisions of the first section.

Previously it was assumed that the agreements can be reached on the 9th Ministerial Conference, but on November 26 2013 at the meeting of the WTO General Council in Geneva, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said that the negotiators have not worked out the draft decisions that could be presented to the ministers of member countries. Stressing that the progress made ​​over the past few weeks, exceeds the results of the WTO negotiations for the last five years, Azevedo nevertheless said: “At the moment we can not tell the world what we have come to. I will inform the ministers that we could not find common grounds, and I will tell them that we were really close to a successful conclusion, but then again were turned away from the finish line.”

Thus, the text of documents of “Bali package” will be presented to the ministers of trade in their current form as "stabilizing" the process, but not the agreed drafts. Some WTO members are skeptical about the possibility of upcoming adoption of the "Bali package." Others noted that the ministerial conference should lead to the finalization of the package preparation - so, a group of more than 100 developed and developing countries, including the Russian Federation, announced on November 29 that they would support "any necessary attempt" to sign the agreement on Bali.

Also within the 9th Ministerial Conference held in Bali the ceremony of accepting Yemen to the WTO will take place.

On December 4, 2013 the WTO ministers shall formally approve the Protocol of accession of the country to the organization; after Yemen completes internal ratification procedures for membership conditions, approximately by June 2014, the country will become the 160th member of the WTO.