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Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Marantis on UK World Trade Week

06/08/2009 - 1:47pm

Today is the launch of the first World Trade Week for the United Kingdom. World Trade week originally started in the U.S. in 1927 and this year the UK is launching its own. The week highlights the importance of global trade in creating jobs and growth.

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis recorded the following statement for UK's World Trade Week.

Watch the video above and read the transcript below.

I'm so pleased to participate in the UK's World Trade Week events on behalf of President Obama and the United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk.   The United States and the United Kingdom share a special history and a strong relationship.   And there is much that we can do together to improve the future of global trade.

It's fitting that I'm speaking to you via technology and transportation systems that have connected us across an ocean.

The worldwide economic downturn is teaching us all many lessons.  And chief among them is just how interconnected the nations of the world are in today's global community.

In times of extraordinary crisis, the temptation for many nations is to turn inward - to close markets in an attempt to protect domestic producers, and respond to the suffering we all see at home.

But both the United States and the United Kingdom know that this response would be as harmful today, as it was in the 1930s.

Job losses have already mounted around the world as trade has declined.

And the hurt we see at home is really showing us that our countries need to increase exports to create and retain jobs.  We need access to each other's economies now more than ever.

The nations of the world have a huge responsibility to work together now - bilaterally, regionally, and multilaterally - to guard against protectionism, and to expand economic opportunities through trade.

There are many opportunities for us to do so together in the World Trade Organization - where 20 standing committees and other bodies meet regularly, engage to review national measures, and solve issues.

Multilateral work in the WTO can be an important tool for responding to the global economic situation.

And one of our best opportunities lies in a successful conclusion to the Doha round of trade talks.  To us, success means a balanced and ambitious agreement with meaningful market access gains for all involved.   A Doha agreement that brings meaningful new trade flows to WTO members can set the tone for a revitalized, invigorated, more robust global trading system over the next 15 years.

This is why President Obama and Ambassador Kirk are both committed to a successful conclusion to the Doha Development Round.  We see it not only as a critical component an overall, worldwide response to the current economic crisis - but also as a critical element to the sustenance of many of our least developed countries.

The world's poorest developing nations have a special place in the Obama trade agenda.  As we've learned, in today's global community, we all rise and fall together.  And there is economic opportunities to be found when we work with developing countries as well.

So from a successful conclusion Doha, to preference policies to technical assistance to building trade capacity, the United States will continue to seek to lift up the world's least developed countries, and grow the world economy in the process.

Trade can be an avenue to encourage investment, create jobs, and even provide alternatives to conflict.  And it is absolutely necessary to fight the global economic crisis.

An aggressive effort to keep trade flowing and open more markets is a tough sell to many people in this economic climate.   But we must win the case for world trade in order to do what's right economically.

Providing transparency and clarity to our citizens can revive our trade agendas.  As Ambassador Kirk has said, the only way to restore confidence in trade efforts is if people can see what we're doing and understand why.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative has committed to addressing Americans' concerns - whether it's through Congress, or by talking to the public directly.

The United Kingdom's World Trade Week is a stellar example of just this kind of outreach.  And USTR is pleased to cooperate with and to support the United Kingdom in this important effort.

There is a great case to be made on trade - that it can work for working families - that it can offer better jobs and better opportunities to our citizens right where they live - and that it can be an important pillar of our economic recoveries at home and around the world.

Working together, the US and the UK can share this message - and more importantly, we can make it real with smart, solid trade initiatives.   Our partnership has been long.  A renewed commitment to sound trade policy can make it even stronger, and more prosperous.  And we can lead in lifting the world to a brighter economic tomorrow.