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USTR Statement at Close of Senior Officials' Meeting in Geneva

Washington, D.C. - The Office of the United States Trade Representative issued a brief statement today upon the conclusion of meetings of senior officials from key members of the World Trade Organization, to discuss next steps on the Doha round of world trade talks. Senior officials met all week in Geneva to follow through on guidance that came out of an informal ministerial meeting in New Delhi, India earlier this month, to draw up a process of engagement for the next two to three months. United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk participated in the New Delhi meetings.

The Senior Officials met in various configurations through the week, focusing on the most effective process of engagement for the next two to three months. As part of this work, the officials also participated in consultations with each chair of the various Doha negotiating groups in order to assist the chairs in drawing up issue-based work plans for intensifying engagement toward completion of the negotiations. Following is a statement from USTR spokeswoman Carol Guthrie:

"We were pleased with the efforts and outcome that emerged this week. We were particularly pleased with the broad recognition emerging from the Senior Official consultations that, in addition to re-energizing the multilateral negotiating process, an important element of moving Doha forward will be for key Members to begin a sustained bilateral engagement to assess the nature of the gaps that exist and address them -- particularly with regard to market-opening contributions under Doha by key emerging markets.

"While we do not underestimate the challenges presented to many members by the remaining issues, we believe that with this kind of direct and sustained engagement important progress can be made in advancing Doha toward a successful conclusion."