WTO Nations Say Deal Will Boost Global Trade

Officials from 159 countries took a big step forward in promoting global trade over the weekend at World Trade Organization talks in Indonesia.

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Officials of 159 countries have taken a big step forward in promoting global trade. This happened over the weekend at World Trade Organization talks in Indonesian.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The countries attending the WTO meeting agreed to a treaty that they say will lower trade barriers and speed up the passage of goods across borders. Officials say the deal could increase global trade by nearly a trillion dollars over time and also create millions of jobs.

Roberto Azevedo is the director general of the WTO.

ROBERTO AZEVEDO: And so ladies and gentlemen, I'm delighted to say that for the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered.

ZARROLI: The agreement this weekend is important because it keeps alive a broader series of talks called the Doha Round, which is supposed to help bring about big changes in taxes and regulations. There was considerable skepticism before the meeting. The talks appeared destined to fail after Cuba threatened a veto over the removal of a reference to the U.S. trade embargo. And there was a dispute about whether a ban on agricultural subsidies should apply to developing countries. But the differences were ironed out at the last minute. The agreement now has to be approved by the legislatures of the countries involved.

Jim Zarroli

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