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Trade and the sustainable development goals

International trade growth can be an economic foundation for sustainable development. However the Addis Agenda, notes that trade growth must be inclusive and consistent with sustainable development.

Progress on implementation of the Bali and Nairobi outcomes


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 the Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, another package of major negotiated outcomes was adopted. 

Access to affordable medicines

A global aim is to provide access to affordable medicines on a sustainable basis in developing countries. The past decade has seen a strong policy emphasis on public health and access to medicines in the WTO, including making needed medicines available − especially anti-retroviral drugs to combat HIV/AIDS − at lower prices, enhancing international funding and creating an additional pathway for access to medicines.

Agriculture and fisheries

Agriculture is a sector that is distorted by subsidies and high trade barriers, but directly affecting access to food, fibers for clothing and other materials, and the livelihoods of farmers around the world. WTO members have taken steps to address these distortions impeding a fairer agricultural trading system and adopted in 2015 a historic decision to abolish agricultural export subsidies and to set rules for other forms of farm export support. 

Strengthening national legislation to address domestic sovereign debt

There has been an increasing issuance of sovereign bonds in domestic currency under national laws. The Addis Agenda notes the possibility for countries voluntarily strengthening domestic legislation to reflect guiding principles for effective, timely, orderly and fair resolution of sovereign debt crises.

Legislative efforts to address non-cooperative minority creditors

While the new CACs aim to reduce the ability of non-cooperating bondholders to undermine an otherwise agreed voluntary restructuring of sovereign debt, the success of ex post litigation has highlighted a gap in the architecture for debt crisis resolution. The Addis Agenda expressed concern about the ability of such creditors to disrupt the willingness of the large majority of bondholders to accept a sovereign restructuring, and noted legislative steps taken by some governments to prevent such disruptive activities.