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Statement of the United States at the WTO General Council Meeting

United States at the WTO General Council MeetingRegarding the Report of the Chairman of the Trade Negotiations CommitteeAmbassador Peter F. Allgeier

“We would like to thank DG Lamy for his statement on the TNC report.

“Several interventions have repeated long lists of so-called “essential” outcomes and made invidious comparisons with positions taken by other Members or have sought to cast negotiations in terms of group vs. group or to allege “collusion” among certain Members against other Members’ interests.

“Those interventions beg for strong rebuttals and restatements of opposing or different positions, and I am sorely tempted to engage in that kind of debate, but don’t feel that such a response would be a positive contribution to our mutual objective – at least I hope it remains a mutual objective – of concluding an ambitious Round next year.

“So I will spare the Membership repetition of U.S. objectives, redlines, or what we feel we need to obtain TPA, or our views on balance across issues.  If there is any confusion on those points, I am glad to meet with any delegation.

“What is most needed now is not repeated harangues of other Members but serious reflection in the coming weeks on what we have heard from each other and consideration of where we each might adjust positions to bridge the substantial remaining differences.

“If we don’t do that, we will not succeed.  The United States remains committed to complete this Round successfully, and we will return to Geneva in the New Year prepared to work with other delegations to find solutions.  But finding solutions requires us to set aside our favorite rhetorical points and to engage in genuine and pragmatic mutual problem solving.  The United States is prepared to do our part in this regard.

“Finally, a word on the preliminary texts before us.  We all acknowledged that the purpose of the texts was to move us all away from our comfortable positions or our most extravagant aspirations.  Let me be very clear:  important U.S. positions are not reflected in the texts – whether in the agriculture range for overall domestic support or the NAMA ranges for coefficients – either developed or developing – or in several aspects of the Rules text.  Nevertheless, we are not insisting that Chairs go backwards and produce revised papers that simply re-insert the full range of every Member’s position.  WTO Members followed that approach once before.  It was called “Seattle.”  Nobody should want to return to that path.  It was not the path to success then, and it is not the path to success now.

“We’ve made important progress collectively during the past few months.  Let’s build on that progress rather than tear it down.”

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