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WTO Trade Deal Enabled After Cuba Drops Veto Threat

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By Randy Fabi

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The World Trade Organization reached its first ever trade reform deal on Saturday to the roar of approval from nearly 160 ministers who had gathered on the Indonesian island of Bali to decide on the make-or-break agreement that could add $1 trillion to the global economy

The approval came after Cuba dropped a last-gasp threat to veto the package of measures.

"For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered," a tearful WTO chief Roberto Azevedo said.

"This time the entire membership came together. We have put the 'world' back in World Trade Organization," he said.

The talks had dragged into an extra day after Cuba at the last minute refused to accept a deal that would not help pry open the U.S. embargo of the Caribbean island. It later agreed on compromise language with the United States.

The agreement marks WTO's first global trade agreement since it was created in 1995 and 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. (Additional reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva, Writing by Jonathan Thatcher; Editing by Michael Perry)

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