Trade & Manufacturing - January 2016

King & Spalding

Important Decisions Reached in Nairobi at the WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference -

On December 19, the World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded its 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The Ministerial Conference, which typically is held every two years, is a meeting of the decision-making body of the WTO that ministers from all Members attend and where decisions can be taken on any matters under the multilateral trade agreements.

For years, the WTO decision-making arm has struggled to obtain the required consensus among all Members in order to reach new multilateral agreements. In particular, the negotiations launched in 2001 in the context of the Doha Development Round, which named improved trading prospects for developing countries as a fundamental objective, have been deadlocked. This has led many to question the effectiveness and relevance of the WTO decision-making function. A glimmer of hope, however, came in 2013 when the Members concluded the Trade Facilitation Agreement at the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, the first multilateral trade agreement under the WTO in two decades.

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