ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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What Happened at the Bali WTO Meet and Why

The food security issue was not the only one of importance at the Bali ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation; the "Bali package" contained a number of decisions of far-reaching importance for India, other developing countries and possibly for the future of multilateral trade organisations. A report and analysis of the run-up to the meet and what happened at the Indonesian resort island.

In just 84 days after assuming office Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo, the new director general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) managed to produce a successful outcome to a ministerial meeting, something that had eluded his predecessor for eight years. The WTO’s ninth ministerial meeting during 3-7 December 2013 in Bali, Indonesia, was a “personal triumph” for Azevêdo, who took office only three months before the ministerial.

Given the pronounced descent of the organisation towards irrelevance since 2005 under the leadership of the previous director general Pascal Lamy, the “Azevêdo effect” has dispelled the cycle of negative perceptions that the WTO cannot deliver. The Bali outcome has brought WTO back into the negotiating orbit. It has suddenly raised the prospect of a revival of the comatose 12-year-old Doha Round of Trade Negotiations or the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) as it is otherwise called.

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