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WTO Reaches Global Trade Deal After Indian Objections Over Food Subsidy Rules

“Delegates to the World Trade Organization [WTO] meeting in Bali, Indonesia, have approved a global trade deal for the first time since the organization was founded in 1995,” VOA News reports. “The deal still must be approved by all 159 member governments,” the news service notes, adding, “Analysts estimate that the deal will add $1 trillion to the world economy and say it preserved the future of the WTO” (12/7). “The talks almost collapsed as the result of a battle between India and the U.S. and E.U. over how WTO rules should be applied to government programs to buy staples from subsistence farmers and provide food to the poor,” the Financial Times writes (Donnan, 12/7). “India’s plans are currently against WTO rules, as such subsidies could distort global food prices,” the Wall Street Journal states, adding, “But negotiators, including the U.S., agreed to give India time to develop alternatives, a process that will take years and has no deadline” (Otto, 12/8). U.S. President Barack Obama lauded the agreement, but some humanitarian groups “said the accord produces few gains for the poor, while farm groups in the U.S. — the world’s biggest agricultural exporter — had little reaction,” Bloomberg writes (Bjerga, 12/8).