Le libre-échange éternel

NEWTON, MASSACHUSETTS – Le 7 décembre dernier, les représentants des 159 États membres de l’Organisation mondiale du commerce sont parvenus à s’entendre sur le premier accord commercial multilatéral depuis la création de l’OMC il y a 19 ans. Bien que cet accord de facilitation des échanges – baptisée « paquet de Bali » en référence à l’île indonésienne sur laquelle s’est tenue la réunion – n’appréhende pas les problématiques commerciales les plus pressantes dans la relation Nord-Sud, il constitue bel et bien le franchissement d’une étape économique et politique importante.

Ce paquet de Bali a pour vocation de faire en sorte que les membres de l’OMC s’orientent vers un abaissement des barrières non tarifaires au commerce – en établissant par exemple un certain nombre de réglementations douanières plus transparentes, ainsi qu’en allégeant la documentation administrative associée aux échanges commerciaux. Bien que ces changements puissent s’apparenter à de menus détails, l’impact de cet accord – censé enrichir de 1 000 milliards $ la production mondiale, et créer quelque 21 millions d’emplois à travers le monde – n’en demeure pas moins substantiel.

Certaines critiques reprochent à cet accord d’échouer à répondre aux objectifs énoncés dans le cadre du Programme de Doha pour le développement mis en avant par l’OMC en 2001. Il convient néanmoins de rappeler que ces objectifs – parmi lesquels un meilleur accès en matière d’agriculture, de secteur manufacturier et de services, une clarification des règles commerciales internationales, ou encore une avancée dans l’appréhension des problématiques environnementales existantes – se révélaient excessivement ambitieux. La conclusion du modeste paquet de Doha s’est elle-même avérée un exercice délicat, ayant nécessité une journée de négociations supplémentaire pour parvenir à un accord sur des questions contentieuses telles que les subventions agricoles indiennes et l’embargo américain de Cuba.

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