Indonesia key for global economy
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Indonesia may hold the key to a $US1 trillion ($A960.66 billion) injection into the global economy.
That's how much the World Trade Organisation (WTO) believes is riding on talks later this year in Bali, when trade ministers hope to cut through some of the red tape that slows global commerce.
Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said failure was not an option and that a strong effort was under way to ensure that the WTO meeting in Bali was "crowned with success".
The current trade talks, known as the Doha Round, began in 2001, and after a decade of little progress for a range of reasons, many had pronounced the negotiations to reduce global trade barriers dead.
There were hopes that the current fragile state of the world economy, including the debt crisis afflicting the 17 European Union countries that use the euro and unspectacular US growth, would add impetus to the discussions.
"It's very critical now, especially with the difficulties in the global economy, especially in the eurozone," Natalegawa said of efforts to reach a new global free trade pact.
"Trade facilitation becomes a key driver for economic recovery, so this is now even ever more important to what it was before."
Trade ministers from 24 nations met on Saturday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos in an unofficial gathering hosted by the Swiss government.
Afterward, Swiss Economic Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said the group agreed they could reach a tentative agreement on some of the key elements of a global trade deal this summer, in preparation for the ministerial talks in December at Bali.
Meanwhile, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said he had to "temper" his enthusiasm for a deal since it has eluded the world for a decade.
Areas of dispute include tariffs on manufactured good, agricultural subsidies, market access and intellectual property rules. Brazil, China and India have resisted US demands to lower taxes on imports of manufactured goods.
"But, at least of the 24 countries represented today, it felt like we had made more substantive progress," Kirk said.
"The good news is we've spent a lot of work on a smaller, more realistic package centred around trade facilitation, which can be a huge benefit to developing economies. And it feels like that is starting to bear fruit."
Kirk, who leaves his job next month, said the ministers renewed their commitment "to double down, do what we need to do" to reach a deal in Bali. "I'm as hopeful as I've been in a long time."