Cuba Drops Veto at WTO Meet, Enabling Global Trade Deal - Sources

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December 7, 2013 2:37 PM EST

The World Trade Organization cleared the way for its first ever worldwide trade reform on Saturday after Cuba dropped a threat to veto the package of measures, sources involved in the talks said.

Cuba had raised a last-gasp objection to the deal, which some estimates say could be worth $1 trillion to the world economy, forcing an overnight halt to talks.

But Cuba later reached an agreement on compromise language with the United States, and a deal was expected to be announced imminently, sources said.

Cuba had earlier refused to accept a deal that would not help pry open the U.S. embargo of the Caribbean island.

It wanted language in the WTO deal to challenge the embargo, which has been in place for half a century and been condemned 22 times by the United Nations. President Barack Obama said last month it may be time to revise the U.S. policy.

The agreement marks WTO's first global trade agreement since it was created in 1995. It also rescues the WTO from the brink of failure and will rekindle confidence in its ability to lower barriers to trade worldwide, after 12 years of fruitless negotiations.

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