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European Commission

Karel De Gucht

European Trade Commissioner

"We have saved the WTO"

Press conference after the 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)/ Bali, Indonesia

6 December 2013

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very pleased that we have good news today. We have saved the WTO.

I am delighted that a compromise has been found over the issue of food security for India and that we have been able to all agree a full Bali package on trade facilitation, development issues and agriculture.

I admit that I am even very relieved - because this Bali package will benefit all of us – but in particular the millions of poor people across the globe in the least developed countries.

That has been the objective of the European Union from the outset.

I am also relieved because today marks the return of the WTO from the darkness of multilateral irrelevance into the light of multilateral action and success.

Today, we have saved the WTO and the Bali package.

We have avoided throwing away the potential benefits that this package of measures will have for all of us – but notably the developing world.

And allow me to thank our Indonesian hosts and, of course, the Director General of the WTO Roberto Azevedo for their tireless efforts in the last days and hours to bring us to this successful outcome in Bali.

So what does today's Bali package mean? Just take trade facilitation - which is essentially a way to help many countries cut red tape at their borders to become more efficient and effective traders. This deal will help developing countries save around 325 billion euros per year. Mature economies are winners too, reducing their trade costs by about 10 per cent. Everyone wins.

The EU will also cover a significant share of the funding needs of developing countries to implement the agreement: some 400 million euros over five years.

Let me be crystal clear: the European Union is committed to helping developing countries be able to help themselves. That's the success story of the Bali package today.

And finally just a few words on the issue of food security.

I have already stated several times this week that the European Union fully supports food security measures to ensure the world's poor can eat. People everywhere must have enough to eat - this is a fundamental human right.

The European Union's record speaks for itself: the EU is the world's largest donor of food security and agricultural development assistance providing around 1 billion euros for food security each year.

So, I am very pleased that a compromise has been found with India to meet their concerns. I fully support this solution.

Ladies and gentlemen – thank you for your time and I'd happily take a few questions. Thank you.

For further information

Main issues on the agenda of the 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation

EU pledges new financial support to help developing countries implement WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (Press Release)

The EU and the WTO


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