In December 2013, WTO members successfully negotiated the 'Bali Package' which included steps on agriculture, food security, support for the least-developed countries, and the Trade Facilitation Agreement. In December 2015, at our Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, another package of major negotiated outcomes was adopted. Overall progress A report by the Chairman of the General Council on implementation of the Bali outcomes is a standing item at meetings of the WTO General Council. Trade facilitation is covered in a separate page. Aid for Trade initiatives are also covered in a separate page.
At the Eighth Ministerial Conference in 2011, WTO members adopted a waiver to allow preferential treatment for services and service suppliers from least-developed countries. Subsequently, the 2013 Bali Ministerial Decision established a process to encourage WTO members to make use of this waiver by notifying preferential treatment. To date (in the span between March 2015 and February 2016), 23 WTO Members have notified preferences to the Council for Trade in Services. Waiver notifications have covered a wide range of sectors and all modes of supply, with an emphasis on services supplied through commercial presence (i.e. through establishments set up in the host market). Many notifications grant preferences to LDCs at a level similar to treatment that they grant to partners in their free trade arrangements. Regarding the sectoral picture, some 90 per cent of notifications provide for preferences in business services, followed by transport services (80 per cent), tourism and travel services (76 per cent) and recreational, cultural and sporting services (60 per cent). All of the above sectors were specified by LDCs as sectors of special interest to them. All notifications provide for preferences for the supply of services through commercial presence, and 80 per cent for cross-border supply. More than half of the notifications also contain preferences with regard to movement of natural persons (Mode 4), an issue of particular interest to LDCs. The Nairobi Ministerial Decision extended the duration of the waiver for an additional four years, until 31 December 2030. It also encourages discussions among members on technical assistance aimed at increasing the capacity of LDCs to participate in services trade. It also urges members who have not yet notified their preferences to the WTO’s Trade in Services Council to promptly do so and sets up a review to monitor the operation of the notified preferences.