Photo: Achmad Ibrahim/TT
Sweden hails 'good for all' global trade deal
Published: 07 Dec 2013 09:32 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Dec 2013 09:32 GMT+01:00
Sweden has welcomed the new global trade deal secured at the WTO talks in Bali, with trade minister calling the deal "historic" while foreign minister Carl Bildt claimed it was "good for all".
"Historic," said Sweden's Minister for Trade Ewa Björling to news agency TT on the phone from the Indonesian island when the agreement was completed.
"It's an incredibly important success for the WTO, for Sweden, Swedish companies and for the global economy," she said.
Some 160 countries stand behind the new global reform, which is seen as a feather in the cap of the new WTO head Roberto Azevedo. The agreement aims to reduce the cost of cross-border transactions, i.e. exports and imports of goods and services.
"It will be easier and faster. In concrete terms, this means that the procedures will be simplified in terms of bureaucracy and administration. But the most important part is the indication that, for now, negotiations in other areas of the Doha Round are resumed," Björling said.
Björling estimated that a new global free trade agreement in the Doha Round could increase global GDP by up to 1,600 billion kronor ($245 billion), which is a more conservative forecast than other calculations which indicated growth of 6,500 billion. Ewa Björling referred to a study from Sweden's Kommerskollegium.
Roberto Azevedo told the media that he sees the global agreement as a major step forward for the Doha Round. The goal of which is to eliminate tariffs on goods and services .
Studies show that a transaction between Sweden and an EU country or between Sweden and Norway, requires paperwork which takes an average 4-5 days. For goods and services that are sent to other areas of the world, such as the Middle East and Africa, the number of days increase considerably. Greater expediency is seen as important, especially when developing countries export food, because it decreases waste.
It is also important for items such as drugs and vaccines where time is sometimes of the essence, Björling pointed out.
According to Björling, current transactions lose between 2 and 15 percent of the price of the product in customs and other bureaucratic complications. Less administrative red tape will create scope for lower prices for goods and services.
"Hopefully, consumers will notice by having more money in their pockets," Ewa Björling said.
The deal is the first WTO global trade deal since the organization was created in 1995. After twelve years of fruitless negotiations, the agreement, Björling argued, will help to increase confidence in the WTO's ability to reduce tariffs and eliminate other barriers to trade worldwide.
She also believes that it can help to facilitate the EU's FTA negotiations with the US and Japan .
"Of course , it is pleasing that we have been able to agree multilaterally; this of course bodes very well for continued bilateral negotiations," she said.
Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt also hailed the deal on the Friday.
"Excellent news from Bali with multilateral WTO deal to facilitate global trade. Good for all, but particular for developing nations," Bildt said via Twitter on Friday.