USTR - Statement from Deputy USTR Peter F. Allgeier to the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee
Office of the United States Trade Representative

 

Statement from Deputy USTR Peter F. Allgeier to the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee
02/14/2005


· The United States is committed to completing the Doha Round before the end of 2006. We see it as an essential ingredient in a concerted strategy to promote global growth and development for all our economies. A successful DDA can make a vital contribution to the development, growth and poverty reduction goals of many of our partners in the developing world. It is clear that for all WTO Members, trade liberalization and domestic reform go hand in hand with development and economic growth.

· Completing the DDA within this timeframe is a big challenge, but we can achieve it if we all intensify our efforts, maintain a strong pace throughout the period of negotiations, and recognize that a final agreement must be of interest to all Members. In particular, we have to be very attentive to important mileposts, to be sure that the work is not lagging.

· Looking first to the Sixth Ministerial in Hong Kong at the end of this year, our goal should be to ensure that Ministers are able to affirm clear guidance in the form of an “endgame document” that enables us in 2006 to finalize negotiations – from tabling and negotiating our schedules in NAMA and Agriculture, to completing services negotiations and other text-based results in accordance with the DDA mandate.

· What does an “endgame document” look like? In the areas of agriculture and NAMA, we need modalities, including the various formulae, and the necessary numbers. In other areas, it could be draft, bracketed texts, or it could be an annotated outline of the elements to be converted into text in 2006, or guidance needed to negotiate clarification and improvements to existing Agreements.

· There won’t be an identical template for each negotiating area. But it will have to take us to the point in each area that we have sufficient time in 2006 -- and sufficient guidance from the “endgame document” -- that enables to negotiate the complete package within a year of the Hong Kong meeting.

· As I said, it is a huge challenge to get to that point within ten months. We can do it, however, IF we push very hard between now and the summer break, constantly keeping our eyes on our progress in the respective negotiating groups.

· While being attentive to the pace of each of the negotiations, however, we should not expect that each negotiation will move in lock step with the others. We all have to avoid the temptation to suggest that movement in one area for now isn’t possible because we haven’t seen enough in some other area. Each negotiation will have its own rhythm. What is important is that we get to the necessary endgame launching point for each topic by Hong Kong.

· One of the important lessons we learned from our work in the DDA thus far is that in order to bring all of our partners along, we need to build in the necessary time for appropriate consultations among regional groups, in capitals and with stakeholders. We appreciate that many of our trading partners are going to be meeting early, often, and at the ministerial level, to ensure effective participation in the coming months.

· As for the progress by the summer break, we need to be very far along in the development of our Hong Kong “endgame” document by then—since we’ll have little more than two months available for concentrated work before the Ministerial. As in the case of the Hong Kong document itself, the output of our work by July will vary in form across the topics. Whatever the form of the output in each topic in July, it must give the membership confidence that we can bring that topic to endgame status by the Ministerial.

· Let me repeat: the United States is committed to meeting these intermediate goals, so that we can achieve the final goal of a successful DDA by the end of next year. This is the clear policy of President Bush’s Administration.

· I will not address today the full range of topics in the negotiation, but I will comment on a few particularly timely issues.

· First, in agriculture, it is essential that we move immediately to develop and share the data on AVE-equivalent tariffs. This information is necessary to proceed with the negotiations on market access in agriculture. We have stated repeatedly, as have many other Members, that an ambitious package of market access in agriculture is a sine qua non of an ambitious outcome on the domestic support pillar. The provision of this data to our negotiating partners should be without prejudice to whether Members ultimately use specific or ad valorem tariffs.

· Second, in NAMA, the United States recently suggested that we explore the desirability of a single Swiss tariff-cutting formula with a dual coefficient, i.e., coefficient X for developed countries, and another coefficient for developing countries. This, of course, would be combined with special treatment for the least-developed countries and countries with less than 35% tariff bindings. This suggestion would bring directly into the formula the element of “less than full reciprocity”. We hope that this suggestion will help to move the NAMA work into a deeper level of engagement as we move toward that group’s meeting in March.

· Even as we intensify our work on the formula in NAMA, we need to do the same with respect to the other essential elements of a NAMA package, namely, sectoral initiatives and NTBs. All of these elements need to come together to provide us a clear picture on modalities.

· Third, in services, we are not seeing new business opportunities being created by many of the offers to date. We all need to use the next few months to conscientiously review our positions in light of the requests that we are receiving, to review what we’ve offered and to make appropriate improvements by May. (And, or course, countries that have yet to make initial offers need to make their offers as soon as possible.) This requires significant work with other ministries and agencies in our own governments who have the primary responsibilities for many of the services areas under negotiation.

· Work on market access and the rules issues in services will only come together if there is a greater appreciation of the contribution of services to our economies´ growth, competitiveness and development. For developing countries, services account for more than half of GDP and are an essential ingredient in any country’s "infrastructure of competitiveness".

· In terms of the elements of a services framework, we should be thinking about the best means to produce real results on market access, including the usefulness of benchmarks and setting deadlines for additional improvements in offers; how to proceed on rules and domestic regulation; and how best to promote the linkage between services liberalization and development.

· The informal services friends groups that are doing positive work in many key sectors need to contribute to the development of the framework.

· Fourth, on Trade Facilitation, we note that good progress is being made in the recently organized negotiating group. We commend the participants in that group and encourage all Members to support its continued progress.

· Fifth, in the other areas of rules, we need to determine the appropriate paths to our objectives. For the United States, we have particular interest in the work on improved disciplines on subsidies, including the elimination of fish subsidies; more effective scrutiny of the WTO-consistency of regional free trade agreements; and strengthening of the DSU, including transparency. We recognize that various of our friends have other priorities among the rules and systemic topics. We are committed to work constructively on all aspects of the Doha mandates.

· Finally—not as an afterthought, but for emphasis—there is “development”, which is the negotiation’s “middle name”. As we analyze our positions in each of the negotiating areas, we must seek to incorporate the features that will best contribute to the advancement of the developing countries and to their integration into the global economy, including, of course, the system of rules and benefits of the WTO.

· Dr. Supachai, we appreciate very much your work in leading the TNC. We also extend our thanks to the chairs of the various negotiating groups. We pledge to continue our active support for you and for each of them.

 
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