The International Apparel Federation welcomes the new WTO multilateral trade agreement that has been reached in Bali. The ‘trade facilitation’ package, the prime component of the agreement, is certainly beneficial to the global apparel industry. This industry has probably the most internationalized supply and demand structure in the world, and with a growing market share of large retail chains and brands with a global presence, internationalization is increasing still. The OECD Trade Facilitation Indicators estimate that comprehensive implementation of all trade facilitation measures agreed to in Bali would reduce total trade costs by 10% in advanced economies and by 13-15.5% in developing countries. Currently, complicated border processes and excess red tape raise costs, which ultimately fall on our businesses and on our consumers. Reducing these costs is a large benefit to the apparel industry.
The IAF also welcomes the fact that this WTO agreement shows that the agricultural sector does not always block advances in multilateral trade agreements, as has happened too often in this Doha Round. It also serves as a wakeup call to the apparel industry that despite the real progress that is being made in multi- and plurilateral trade agreements, the multilateral trade agenda deserves more attention. The IAF, representing the apparel industry in all continents, will boost the discussion among its members about the desired direction for the apparel industry of further multilateral trade negotiations.
With a retail value of over 1.3 trillion US$, much of which crosses borders, the apparel industry is well placed to reap a large benefit from the Bali agreement and could potentially benefit from the revival of multilateral trade talks that seems to be emerging from the Indonesian island of Bali.