US Seeks to Revive Stalled Trade Talks
USTR urges WTO to make ''a serious effort to get the talks going again''
WASHINGTON, DC - 1/12/04 - US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Zoellick is urging members of the World Trade Organization to restart stalled international trade talks, according to a US official quoted by Reuters.
Zoellick, in letters sent to the almost 150 countries that belong to the international trade organization, said the US was prepared to make a serious effort to get talks going, the official told the news agency.
The USTR believes no trade deal can be sealed without complete elimination of agricultural export subsidies, the official added - a position that would put it at odds with the European Union.
"The letter suggests that WTO members should focus on the basics, especially the core market access topics of agriculture, goods, and services," said the official, who did not want to be named.
The global talks are aimed at lowering or eliminating tariffs charged by countries around the world on imported goods and services, thereby lowering the costs of those products to consumers.
The World Bank has estimated that a trade pact resulting from the talks could add up to $520 billion to world incomes by 2015, or about $85 for every person now living.
The US official said Zoellick asked trade ministers to agree by the middle of the year to terms for a fresh start to talks that broke down in September in Cancun, Mexico, over agricultural issues.
"The period after Cancun was a necessary collective catching of breath, and now we must all recommit to pushing forward. We have a chance to surprise the nay-sayers," the official said.
Many developing nations are hindered in exporting farm products to industrialized nations by trade obstacles aimed at shielding farmers and ranchers in those countries from being driven out of business by cheap imports, the news agency said.
The talks - launched in Doha, Qatar in late 2001 - were to have wrapped up by the end of 2004. Zoellick asked trade ministers to be ready to meet in Hong Kong before the end of the year, the official said.
Zoellick told the Financial Times in a recent interview he wanted to "reach out to developing countries" by addressing their concerns on agriculture, competition and investment. He added that he would support a developing country candidate to chair the WTO's general council.
The letter suggests discussing agriculture before trying to agree on cutting tariffs on industrial goods, the Financial Times said.
Zoellick said in the letter that he would travel to a number of countries next month to discuss his ideas for restarting talks, the newspaper said.
back, or read the latest Front Page stories:
US Seeks Stronger Ties With Brazil
WASHINGTON, DC – 06/13/06 – Rebounding from the failure to craft a Free Trade Area of the Americas pact, the Bush Administration is aiming at strengthening trade ties with Brazil in an effort to counter China’s fast-growing economic influence in Latin America; China should not only be seen as an export market with 1.3 billion consumers, but also as a nation of 1.3 billion ''new competitors,'' says US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Guittierez.
US Threatens WTO Action Against China
WASHINGTON, DC – 06/10/06 – The White House is threatening to slap China with a World Trade Organization case unless Beijing responds quickly to US concerns over its lack of action on securing intellectual property rights for US products; talks on bringing the WTO case are at a ''very advanced stage,'' according to a high level official in the Office of the US trade Representative.
High Hopes for Central American Trade Pact
WASHINGTON, DC – 06/08/06 – The US -Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) still faces some hurdles, but could become a reality ''very soon,'' according to Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick; the issues relating to government procurement, intellectual property rights and agriculture still need to be worked through, says the former US Trade Representative following a session of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.