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What They’re Saying: World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement

On December 7, the 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) achieved its first fully multilateral agreement in its almost twenty year history, creating a new opportunity for economic prosperity for each of the 159 WTO members. The topics of the five-day ministerial conference included development of smaller countries, trade streamlining, and food security improvement, marking a new era for the WTO, the Doha Round, and international trade. Elected officials, Members of Congress, and private and public sector stakeholders have also expressed their support for this landmark achievement. Below is a sampling of what others are saying so far – check back for periodic updates.

“This new deal, and particularly the new trade facilitation agreement, will eliminate red tape and bureaucratic delay for goods shipped around the globe. Small businesses will be among the biggest winners, since they encounter the greatest difficulties in navigating the current system. By some estimates, the global economic value of the new WTO deal could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars.”

- President Barack Obama

“The breakthrough agreement reached in Bali by the World Trade Organization (WTO) reaffirms the commitment of the international community to an open trade system which boosts global growth and jobs, and cuts poverty.”

- Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

"The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement is great news for the entire global trading community, and will help to restore the role of the WTO as a place to conclude trade deals whose benefits are spread broadly around the world. I applaud the work of United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and look forward to further achievements at the WTO, including expansion of the Information Technology Agreement."

- Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) 

“The successful WTO negotiations in Bali mark an important first step towards reducing global trade barriers in the 21st century. American entrepreneurs and workers can compete with anyone on a level economic playing field. Expanding free and fair trade is a national imperative that will create job opportunities for our own people and help others around the world rely less on foreign assistance and benefit more from the free enterprise system.”

- U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

“Success in Bali gives the WTO a chance to consider its future course. One immediate priority will be to conclude negotiations to expand the product coverage of the Information Technology Agreement, which has delivered a cornucopia of technology products to the world. Extending free trade to the hundreds of new tech products invented since that agreement was reached in 1996 will multiply its benefits.”

 - U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue

“ The WTO Bali package is an important achievement and its trade facilitation agreement will enhance the flow of U.S. goods and services and enable American companies to be more competitive in today’s global marketplace.”

- Doug Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc., and Chair of Business Roundtable’s International Engagement Committee

“Manufacturers are pleased to see the WTO conclude a strong and binding Trade Facilitation Agreement that will cut red tape at borders throughout the world and boost economic activity. Predictable, efficient and transparent customs procedures will help manufacturers in the United States more effectively and efficiently access the 95 percent of global customers that live outside our borders.”

- National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey


“The merits of this agreement are manifold. It is the first multilateral trade agreement concluded since the founding of the World Trade Organization almost 20 years ago. It replaces the disappointments of the past decade with a constructive precedent for the WTO and its membership to build upon, going forward.”

- President of the Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT) Calman J. Cohen


“WTO members have delivered a dose of holiday cheer to a struggling global economy. We congratulate ministers on making the tough choices necessary to push this package of agreements past the finish line. They have demonstrated once again the critical importance of multilateral trade liberalization.”

- USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson

"This break-through agreement among 159 nations is a giant step forward for businesses large and small in expediting the movement of goods globally and reducing unnecessary paperwork. While there remain areas where additional progress is necessary, the trade facilitation agreement provides a new base from which we can continue to elevate customs standards. This could further support the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations."

- UPS chairman and CEO Scott Davis