Skip to main content

WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali:

Agreement reached on a new trade agreement

Nils Kristian Nersten

Nils Kristian Nersten

The new WTO agreement covers measures to streamline trade procedures, rules governing developing countries’ government procurement for food security programmes and the administration of tariff rate quotas.

The members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) reached agreement on a new trade agreement on 7 December. The agreement is limited to just a few issues and must be seen as a small step on the road to a comprehensive new agreement in the Doha Round negotiations.

WTO is one of the most important frameworks for Orkla’s operations, but according to Nils Kristian Nersten, Manager Trade Policy and Government Affairs at Orkla, the new Bali agreement has little direct impact on our activities.

“The negotiations in Bali are part of the major round of negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda, which have been in progress since 2001 and at a standstill since 2008. The most important result now was that they managed to reach agreement at all on something that can drive the organisation forward. In the course of next year, the WTO members will draw up a concrete work programme to conclude the Doha Round,” says Mr Nersten.

WTO currently has 160 members. Membership of the organisation commits all the member countries to complying with the same rules of trade across national borders. Being a member confers rights such as protection against unreasonable differential treatment, but also obligations such as reducing tariff rates and complying with the rules.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende is pleased that agreement was reached on a new agreement.

“The most important aspect of the outcome in Bali is that it opens up opportunities to resume negotiations on the core issues in the Doha Round: market access for agricultural products, industrial products, fish and services, subsidies and updating of the WTO rules,” Mr Brende said in a press release posted on the Norwegian Foreign Ministry’s website.