Bali summit may be last chance for WTO trade deal

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Associated Press

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 5:32 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 3 at 5:33 AM

BALI, Indonesia (AP) — A meeting underway today in Indonesia could produce a make or break moment for the World Trade Organization.

Top trade officials are in talks that will either produce an eleventh hour deal that could boost the global economy by $1 trillion or possibly spell the end of the WTO's relevance as a forum for negotiations.

Negotiators are close to a slimmed-down deal but there is no finished document to sign. So close to an agreement, some have been urging the trade ministers to take the unprecedented step of completing the negotiations themselves. Ministerial summits are usually designed for enshrining done deals, not technical negotiations.

An agreement on simplifying customs procedures could help revive the WTO's broader Doha Round of trade negotiations, which could include sweeping changes in regulations, taxes and subsidies that would benefit low income countries.

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