USTR - Zoellick to Focus on Doha at Trade Meetings In Paris May 12-14
                 
The Office of the United States Trade Representative

Zoellick to Focus on Doha at Trade Meetings In Paris May 12-14
05/10/2004


On Way to Paris, Zoellick to Meet With Irish Officials & Opinion Leaders in Dublin on May 11

WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick will travel to Paris, France May 12-14 to discuss trade issues and the ongoing Doha Development Agenda negotiations at the annual meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Ambassador Zoellick will deliver a speech on Thursday, May 13 at a forum in the French Senate hosted by the French Institute for International Relations. "We have a narrow window of opportunity in the next two to three months to advance the Doha negotiations and ensure that 2004 is not a lost year for the WTO. The Doha Development Agenda offers us all the opportunity to promote global economic growth, development and prosperity. The United States played a key role in launching the Doha negotiations, and we're committed to working with others to move the negotiations forward and prepare the groundwork for the more detailed negotiations to come," Zoellick said. "It is within our grasp over the coming months to move the Doha talks into the next phase, but to do so all of us must seize the opportunity by working together. The United States wants an ambitious outcome, while recognizing the sensitivities many countries have. The meetings in Paris will provide a useful venue for attending Ministers to listen to one another and explore ways to craft solutions."

On the way to France, Zoellick will travel to Dublin, Ireland to meet with the Prime Minister of Ireland, Bertie Ahern, other Irish officials, and business and opinion leaders on May 11 to discuss Ireland's successful experiences in economic reform and integration into the global economy.

"I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to visit Dublin and to hear first hand how the Irish successfully developed their economy to compete within Europe and with the broader global economy," Zoellick added.

Background:

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 negotiations 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.

Regional and bilateral efforts:

The U.S. has completed free trade agreements with eight countries - Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Australia and Morocco - over the past six months. New and pending FTA partners, taken together, would constitute America's third largest export market and the sixth largest economy in the world. In addition, two weeks ago the United States and Panama conducted the first round of free trade negotiations between the two countries. This week the United States will begin the fifth round of negotiations with the SACU countries (Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia) and will soon commence negotiations with Thailand, as well as the Andean countries of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Ambassador Zoellick and his Australian counterpart, Trade Minister Mark Vaile, will sign the U.S.- Australia FTA on Tuesday, May 18 in Washington. The May 18 signing date between trade ministers offers the earliest possible date to move forward in consultation with Congress.