AGRIBUSINESS: WTO Deal First Step In Multilateral Deal

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Twelve years ago the Doha Round of negotiations among members of the World Trade Organization began in the Qatari capitol, Doha. Last Saturday WTO membership came to their first agreement since that time, in a deal known now as the Bali package.

Among other provisions the Bali package contains trade facilitation measures, which U.S. Grains Council Director of Trade Policy Floyd Gaibler says will improve overall trade benefits, including those on ag products.

In the Bali package, negotiators agreed on provisions that will improve administration of tariff rate quotas and continue down the path to eliminate export subsidies.

Gaibler says, perhaps most importantly, the agreement provides a pathway for broader post-Doha multilateral negotiations.

WTO members also established an interim food security program that will allow countries with existing food stock-holding programs to continue to operate those existing programs even if they exceed or will result in exceeding their allowable domestic subsidies for an interim period until a final agreement is reached.