x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Does the World Trade Organisation matter anymore?

David Shark, a US trade official, has told the WTO's 153 members that the US has "swallowed hard" and accepted a compromise proposal to open up trade in manufactured goods and agriculture.

The World Trade Organisation's last minute deal is falling apart, say diplomats. The trade body is hoping for agreement this week on a new global commerce pact that would lower tariffs and subsidies on agriculture and manufactured goods, setting the stage for an overall trade accord by the end of the year. Using some of the strongest language yet at a crucial set of talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), David Shark, a US trade official, told the organisation's 153 members that the US had "swallowed hard and accepted" a compromise proposal to open up trade in manufactured goods and agriculture.

But he criticised India for rejecting the package laid out by the WTO and lambasted China for backing out of terms it committed to last week. Their actions, he said, threatened seven years of work. Does the World Trade Organisation matter anymore?