GENEVA - United States Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick announced today that the United States will contribute $1 million to a voluntary World Trade Organization (WTO) fund to provide technical assistance for developing country trade capacity-building efforts. Zoellick is in Geneva for a day of meetings at the WTO to discuss moving forward on the negotiating agenda agreed to last November at the WTO Ministerial in Doha, Qatar.
"The United States is following through on commitments made at the Doha Ministerial Conference to supply technical assistance to developing countries. The creation of the Doha Development Agenda Trust Fund is one step that recognizes the varied and diverse interests of the developing countries, which if helped, can benefit much from the negotiations launched at Doha," said Zoellick. "I am pleased that the United States is able to take this step so quickly after the Ministerial meeting and within about a month after the WTO created the Fund."
The Doha Development Agenda Trust Fund is aimed at building the capacity for developing countries to participate in the full range of WTO negotiations and activities agreed to in Doha. The WTO General Council agreed to create the voluntary fund on December 19, 2001. The U.S. contribution of $1 million offers a quick start for hitting the target endowment for 2002 of about $9 million.
"Providing assistance to promote trade-related capacity-building in developing countries is an integral part of promoting their future economic development and prosperity," added Zoellick. "This contribution, combined with our large bilateral assistance programs, totaling $555 million last year, is strong evidence of the U.S. commitment to integrating countries in need into the global trading system."
In addition to creating the Doha fund, WTO Members agreed to increase the trade capacity of developing countries by doubling the funding allocated to the highly acclaimed WTO training courses for developing countries and assisting countries that have the greatest difficulty in participating in WTO activities.
While in Geneva, Zoellick will meet with WTO Director General Mike Moore, visiting trade ministers, and groups of Ambassadors from African nations, the ASEAN countries of south east Asia, and the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting nations.
A key part of the U.S. trade agenda is to help developing nations build the capacity to take part in trade negotiations and then implement the results. The United States has made a number of specific contributions to assist the WTO. The United States has given over $1 million to the WTO for use in Africa (including $370,000 in the past few weeks to conduct two regional seminars and to provide scholarships for 30 African trade officials to attend WTO trade policy courses), $1 million for the WTO Global Trust Fund in 2001, and now $1 million for the WTO Doha Development Agenda Trust Fund. These contributions complement other U.S. efforts to provide technical assistance for developing countries. Over the last three years, the United States has invested over $1.4 billion in a large number of trade-related capacity building projects and programs for developing countries.
More information regarding the trade capacity building efforts of the United States can be found by clicking here.