With tears in his eyes, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Roberto Azevêdo (shown in the photo on the left) announced on Saturday the successful culmination of days of difficult negotiations to arrive at the first unanimous agreement in the history of the WTO: the approval of the Bali Package. "For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered. This time the entire membership came together. We have put the 'world' back into World Trade Organization," he said.
Headlines around the world celebrated, with the BBC stating, “WTO agrees to global trade deal worth $1 trillion,” the New York Times saying, “W.T.O. Reaches First Global Trade Deal,” and Reuterswriting, “WTO reaches its first ever trade deal at Bali meeting.”
One would think that mankind had been saved from extinction through the work of 160 diplomats working in its best interests, laboring through the night to birth the agreement. In fact, it was a “near death” experience for the WTO. As noted by Tom Miles, writing a week earlier for Reuters, there were only two possible outcomes from the meeting to be held on the island of Indonesia: “a global trade agreement ... or a failure that kills off the Doha round of trade talks and casts the WTO into obsolescence.” At the last minute, Cuba and India backed away, slightly, from their threats to scuttle the conference, allowing Azevêdo to save the WTO and his job as Director-General.
What was accomplished was a slight lessening of trade restrictions through the relaxing of some red tape between and among the agreeing governments. But even that was ballyhooed as paving the way for an enormous expansion of economic activity. According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics — founded by globalist Fred Bergsten in 1981 and funded handsomely by Council on Foreign Relations member Peter Peterson — the Bali Package of trade agreements could create $1 trillion worth of global economic activity and add more than 20 million jobs, while lowering the cost of doing business internationally by between 10 and 15 percent.
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Photo of WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo and Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wiryawan: AP Images