USTR - USTR Zoellick Receives WITA/WITF Distinguished Service Award
Office of the United States Trade Representative

 

USTR Zoellick Receives WITA/WITF Distinguished Service Award
Contact: Richard Mills / Ricardo Reyes | (202) 395-3230 07/23/2003


WASHINGTON - At their 9th annual awards dinner at the Ronald Reagan Building this evening, the Washington International Trade Association (WITA) and the Washington International Trade Foundation (WITF) presented U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick with their Distinguished Service Award. This award recognizes individuals who have made, and continue to make, extraordinary contributions to the field of international trade. Jack Valenti of the Motion Picture Association of America introduced Ambassador Zoellick and the Honorable Daniel R. Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture, hosted the event.

"It is a great honor to be chosen for this prestigious award. This is an historic time for trade because President Bush has reinvigorated America's trade agenda. We've worked to secure Trade Promotion Authority and launch global trade negotiations at Doha, helped China and Taiwan join the WTO, and moved forward with trading partners who want open markets with us," said Zoellick. "I'm sincerely flattered to be included among the ranks of trade champions like Charles Grassley, Cal Dooley, David Dreier."

"WITA is a vital forum for Washington policymakers. I applaud their efforts to promote an informed, intelligent debate on trade issues," Zoellick said. "This organization deserves praise for the work it does every day in the service of free trade and especially for its efforts in support of the recently completed FTAs with Singapore and Chile."

The Washington International Trade Association is a non-profit, voluntary organization dedicated to providing a neutral forum in the nation's capital for the open discussion of international trade issues. WITA has over 1,000 members consisting of executives, attorneys, federal officials, diplomats, journalists, and academics. Through an extensive series of programs, WITA keeps its members informed of the latest positions taken by the Administration and Congress on trade policy, rules and regulations governing international trade, and views of U.S. trade policy from abroad. The Washington International Trade Foundation (WITF) was created in 1995 to support the activities of WITA.

Background:

Since 2001, the Bush Administration has promoted free trade globally, regionally, and bilaterally:

Globally

After playing a leadership role to launch the Doha Global Trade Negotiations in November 2001, the United States has made bold and ambitious proposals to spur multilateral trade talks within the World Trade Organization (WTO):

Agriculture. The United States has proposed bold reform of global agricultural trade that would level the playing field for all countries by substantially reducing global trade barriers, slashing global trade-distorting subsidies by over $100 billion annually, and eliminating export subsidies.

Industrial and Consumer Goods. The United States has proposed a "tariff free world" by calling on members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to eliminate all tariffs on consumer and industrial goods by 2015. This proposal, combined with the far-reaching U.S. agricultural reform proposal submitted to the WTO in July, would eliminate tariffs on the nearly $6 trillion in annual world goods trade, lifting the economic fortunes of workers, families, businesses, and consumers.

Services. The United States has proposed liberalizing global trade in services by removing barriers in areas such as financial services (including insurance, banking and securities); telecommunications; express delivery; computer services; energy; and environmental services.

Regionally

Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Currently, the United States and Brazil serve as FTAA chairs and Miami will serve as the site for the FTAA Ministerial meetings on November 20-21. In February 2003, the United States announced a bold, comprehensive offer to eliminate tariffs and trade barriers in the negotiations for the FTAA, a $13 trillion market of 34 countries and nearly 800 million people. The U.S. is proposing to eliminate its import duties on the majority of industrial and agricultural imports from the Western Hemisphere immediately upon entry into force of the FTAA, and is offering broad access to its services, investment and government procurement sectors. In addition, the U.S. is offering that textiles and apparel imports from the region would be duty-free in the U.S. just five years after the FTAA takes effect, provided other countries reciprocate.

Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA). To re-ignite economic growth and expand opportunity in the Middle East, the President proposed on May 9th, 2003 to establish a U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Area within a decade. Building on our free trade agreements (FTAs) with Israel and Jordan, the United States will take a series of graduated steps to achieve this goal. FTA negotiations with Morocco are expected to be complete by the end of 2003, and the U.S. is seeking to negotiate an agreement with Bahrain in the near future.

Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative (EAI). In October of 2002, President Bush announced an important trade initiative to enhance already close U.S. ties with ASEAN. The EAI offers the prospect of FTAs between the United States and ASEAN countries that are committed to economic reforms and openness. The goal is to create a network of bilateral FTAs, which will increase trade and investment, tying more closely together our economies and our futures. The EAI initiative will encourage both bilateral and regional liberalization, and help APEC to achieve free and open trade and investment in the Asia Pacific region.

Bilaterally

The United States has recently completed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Chile and Singapore, which have been submitted to Congress for approval and which the House is expected to bring to a vote tomorrow. Additionally, the United States has begun FTA negotiations with Morocco; five nations in Central America (CAFTA, which includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua); five nations in the Southern African Customs Union (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland); and Australia. The United States is also seeking to negotiate an FTA with Bahrain next year.

According to a recent Cato Institute Paper by Dan Griswold, taken together as a group, the recently completed Chile and Singapore FTAs, the ongoing Morocco, Central America (CAFTA), South African Customs Union (SACU), and Australia FTA negotiations, and the proposed Bahrain FTA negotiations would constitute the 4th largest U.S. export market and the world's 9th economy in terms of purchasing power.

 
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