AEIR 2019/2020


Five things you didn’t know about the Bali Ministerial

From December 3 to 6, 2013 the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be holding the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia. We’ve prepared a short blog on the five things you need to know about the conference to help keep you up to speed with these developments.

1. The Bali Ministerial is the 5th Ministerial conference held since the Doha Development Round was launched in 2001 

The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of the WTO. It is convened every two years and attended by all WTO members. It is during this event when all decisions are taken on any matters related to the covered trade agreements. It is also here where negotiating rounds are opened or closed. The Doha Round has been particularly problematic and each of the Ministerial Conferences within this round have failed to close the round.  At the most recent Ministerial Conference in 2011, the Doha Round was declared “at an impasse.”  It is widely hoped that the more narrow focus of the Bali Ministerial will enable a successful conclusion. 

Image Source: The World Trade Organization


2. The 9th Ministerial meeting is guided by the following principles:

  1. “FIT” - Full participation, Inclusiveness, and Transparency;
  2. Any issue for action or decision by Ministers proposed by members should be developed by them and in line with the normal consensus principal; and
  3. Issues for action or decision by Minister should be agreed upon before the 9th Ministerial meeting.

Image Source: The World Trade Organization


3. Gita Irawan Wirjawan, Indonesia’s Trade Minister, will chair the Bali Ministerial Conference 

Before his appointment in 2011 by President Susilo Bambang Yodhoyono to the Ministry of Trade, Mr. Wirjawan worked in the banking sector, for firms including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.  He holds a BA in Accounting from the University of Texas, an MBA from Baylor University, and a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard University’s JFK School of Government.

Image Source: Gita Irawan Wirjawan personal Facebook Page


4. The Bali Ministerial Conference will be the first Conference under the new WTO chief Roberto Azevędo, who assumed office on September 1, 2013

DG Azevedo was previously Brazil’s ambassador in Geneva to the United Nations and Permanent Representative to the WTO, a post which he had held for 6 years. He is a career government official with a deep knowledge of the WTO and a background in Electrical Engineering and International Relations. DG Azevedo has continued former DG Lamy’s position that “we cannot afford to fail” in this Ministerial. 

Image Source: Yahoo! News


5. The Ministers will be negotiating positions under three themes

The three themes include agriculture, trade facilitation, and monitoring mechanisms and Least Developed Country (LDC) issues. This limited focus is the result of a paring down process that has occurred since the Doha Round began. Of the three themes, trade facilitation is widely seen as the central issue and the one which is likely to be the keystone of any wider agreement.


The views expressed in this blog post are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ARIC, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), its Board of Directors, or the governments they represent. ARIC does not guarantee the accuracy of the information and data included in this blog post and accepts no responsibility for any consequences of their use. Terminology used may not necessarily be consistent with official ADB terms.