USTR - USTR Zoellick to Attend Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Chile June 4-5
Office of the United States Trade Representative

 

USTR Zoellick to Attend Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Chile June 4-5
06/02/2004


WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick will join fellow Trade Ministers from the Pacific region at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Pucon, Chile on June 4 – 5. Zoellick will discuss ways to advance trade and investment liberalization regionally and globally, with an emphasis on advancing the ongoing trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“APEC has helped strengthen trading relationships among its dynamic and diverse 21 member economies, and the region has been very important to the United States,” said Zoellick. “APEC members account for nearly 65% of U.S. exports, and we continue to explore ways to expand trade with our partners around the Pacific Rim, including FTA’s with other APEC economies. Last year we concluded free trade agreements (FTAs) with Singapore and Chile, earlier this month the United States and Australia signed only the third FTA between developed countries, and this summer we are scheduled to begin FTA negotiations with Thailand.”

“APEC has also been an important vehicle for building momentum in the WTO, and I look forward to discussing with my colleagues ways to ensure a successful completion of the global trade talks, commonly known as the Doha Development Agenda (DDA),” Zoellick said. “Driving APEC’s agenda and the DDA is a shared vision of economic growth and prosperity.”

Zoellick noted that at the meeting in Thailand last October, following the breakdown of global trade talks in Cancun, APEC played an important and constructive role in promoting trade liberalization by calling on WTO members to return to the talks and build upon the Cancun draft Ministerial text.

During his visit to Chile, Zoellick will meet with his counterparts from Chile and Brunei under separate U.S. bilateral initiatives with each country. On June 3, Zoellick and Chilean Foreign Minister Soledad Alvear will conduct the first meeting of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Commission. The U.S.-Chile FTA calls for periodic meetings of the Free Trade Commission to oversee implementation of the agreement. Zoellick and Alvear will review implementation of the U.S. – Chile FTA, discuss the early reports of the trade effects of the immediate tariff reductions, as well as labor and environmental cooperation projects and changes in the investment climate in Chile.

Zoellick will also meet with Brunei Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Abdul Rahman bin Mohamed Taib to discuss bilateral and multilateral trade issues under the U.S.-Brunei Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). Zoellick’s meeting with Rahman is intended to advance the President’s Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative (EAI), which offers the prospect of bilateral free trade agreements between the United States and countries in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) that are WTO members and have signed a TIFA with the United States. Progress in addressing bilateral trade issues through TIFAs will allow for the U.S. and its trading partners to deepen and expand the trading relationship.

Under the EAI, the United States is working with Brunei and other ASEAN members to expand trade and investment liberalization and lay the groundwork for possible free trade agreements. The United States and each ASEAN partner would jointly determine if and when they are ready to launch FTA negotiations.

The theme for APEC this year is “One Community, Our Future.” Zoellick noted this theme reflects the close relationships that have been forged through trans-Pacific trade, and the need to build on past successes by completing important work already underway. The group also plans to advance efforts to implement important APEC commitments on trade facilitation, transparency, and trade in the digital economy.

During the APEC meeting, Zoellick will meet separately with some of the 20 other APEC members, which are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korean, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Background on the Doha negotiations:

The United States is focused on opening markets globally, regionally and bilaterally. Zoellick has been working hard this year on the Doha negotiations to make sure that 2004 is not a lost year. In January he wrote a letter to over 140 of his WTO colleagues to Identify ways to put the ne gotiations back on track. In February, he traveled over 32,000 miles around world and met with over 40 counterparts to hear their views and discuss ideas. He recently hosted a small gathering of colleagues in London to facilitate a discussion about how to keep the Doha negotiations moving forward.

Within the Doha negotiations, the United States was the first WTO member to put forward a comprehensive agricultural trade reform proposal, calling for elimination of export subsidies, cuts of $100 billion in annual allowed global trade-distorting domestic subsidies, and lowering average allowed global tariffs from 62 percent to 15 percent. The United States also proposed that WTO members agree in this negotiation to a specific date for elimination of agricultural tariffs and trade-distorting domestic support.

The United States proposed eliminating all tariffs on consumer and industrial goods by 2015. The U.S. plan for zero tariffs is comprehensive, would benefit both developed and developing nations, and would eliminate tariffs on the over $6 trillion in annual world goods trade, lifting the economic fortunes of workers, families, businesses, and consumers. A University of Michigan study estimates that global free trade in goods and services would raise U.S. annual income by $500 billion as a result of tariff- free trade - contributing to higher paying jobs. The same study found gains of up to $690 billion for the EU and EFTA together (Western Europe).

According to the World Bank, developing countries would gain nearly two-thirds of the benefit from global free trade in goods including agriculture. Their increase in annual income would amount to $539 billion. The bank further found that free trade could help lift 300 million people out of poverty - a number greater than the entire population of the United States.

 

 
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