UN urges WTO members to adopt Trade Facilitation Agreement

UN urges WTO members to adopt Trade Facilitation Agreement

International trade is essential to end poverty and an ounce of trade can be worth a pound of aid, says Ban Ki Moon

The Dollar Business Bureau | @TheDollarBiz

BanKimoon-TheDollarBusiness UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, opening the 2014 WTO Public Forum on 1 October 2014 (Source - WTO)

  Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, United Nations (UN), has said that multilateral trading system is important for alleviating poverty and has urged countries to conclude the Doha Development Agenda which has Trade Facilitation at its core. Speaking at the WTO 2014 Public Forum on “Why trade matters to everyone”, Ban Ki-moon highlighted the importance of multilateral trading system in the economic growth of a country. He said, “Without trade, my country (South Korea) could not have risen from the rubble of war to become a developed nation. Without trade, China could not have achieved the impressive growth that has slashed poverty. Wherever we look — from Indonesia to Brazil, from Australia to Europe — trade provides a path to accelerated growth and prosperity.”

RTAcharts-theDollarBusiness Source - WTO Staff Working Paper ERSD‐2014‐01

Ban Ki-moon also drew a line between RTAs and multilateral trading system. It is estimated that Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) have surged over three times to around 160 during 2000 to mid-2013 compared to around 50 in the 1990s. There are views that popularity of RTAs makes multi-lateral trading redundant. Ban Ki-moon said that RTAs have increased because of the slow progress on a multilateral trade agenda. However, RTAs cannot be allowed to undermine the consistency of the multilateral system which helps the least developed countries, ensures food security and paves way for economic prosperity, added Ban Ki-moon. “That is why the United Nations fully supports the efforts of the WTO to conclude the Doha Round. This remains the best route to a fairer, development-oriented trading system,” he said. Speaking on the occasion, Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said that multilateral trading benefits developing countries the most and there is no compulsion for developing countries adopt the TFA in full. WTO members had agreed to implement the TFA by July 31, 2104, but some developing countries, led by India, did not allow the adoption of TFA over food security concerns.  

This article was published on October 4, 2014.