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Eighth WTO Ministerial Gets Underway in Geneva, Switzerland

On Thursday, December 15, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk joined fellow trade ministers at the opening session of the Eighth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial in Geneva, Switzerland. At this ministerial, the United States will recognize the contributions that the WTO has made toward economic growth, development, and job creation, as well as seek creativity in finding new approaches to the Doha Round of negotiations. The U.S. will also continue to work towards opening markets for American exports, as Ambassador Kirk remains committed to the trading opportunities of the WTO and the ability of the multilateral organization to foster job-creating global trade.

Ambassador Kirk at the Eighth WTO Ministerial
Ambassador Kirk at the opening session of the 8th WTO Ministerial

In addition to the opening session of the WTO Ministerial, Ambassador Kirk also attended the Minister-level meeting that approved the revision of the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). The GPA is a plurilateral agreement first negotiated in 1981 to open government procurement markets for domestic products. With government procurement comprising 10-15 percent of a given country’s Gross Domestic Product, access to foreign government procurement markets provides important opportunities for U.S. exporters who support American jobs. The GPA requires its 42 members to follow government procurement practices that do not protect domestic products or suppliers, or discriminate against foreign products or suppliers.

The revision of the GPA that was approved today will provide new opportunities for U.S. suppliers. It also demonstrates the ability of the WTO to reach agreements that clarify rules and expand market access opportunities for American exporters. Ambassador Kirk welcomes this revision which provides additional support to American families and business by expanding market access.