Washington – U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab will confer with leaders of six major trading countries and the Director General of the World Trade Organization in Geneva on July 23-24 to discuss the WTO’s Doha Development Round.
"I am looking forward to joining U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns in rolling up our sleeves and working with our colleagues toward a successful agreement in the Doha Development Round. Leaders attending the recent G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia made clear the importance of this effort and pledged to arm their trade ministers with additional flexibilities to get the Doha negotiations back on track," said Ambassador Schwab.
We have arrived at a crucial point in these negotiations where we learn whether there is sufficient market access on the table to call it a trade round. The United States is ready to show flexibility, but we cannot negotiate with ourselves. All nations must show flexibility, commitment and political courage in the coming weeks if the Doha Round is to conclude with an ambitious and balanced agreement of benefit to people all over the world."
The meetings in Geneva are with trade officials from the United States, European Union, Australia, Brazil, India and Japan.
Members of the World Trade Organization launched the Doha Development Agenda in Qatar’s capitol in December, 2001. Central objectives of the Doha Round include reducing agricultural subsidies and tariffs on agricultural and industrial products, eliminating barriers to trade in services, and spurring development through expanded trade.
The United States has stressed that only an ambitious, balanced, and comprehensive final agreement, with meaningful openings in market access, can achieve the development objectives WTO members endorsed and win political support by individual WTO members.
The United States has also stressed the importance of completing a final agreement by the end of the year so that it can be considered by the U.S. Congress under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) guidelines, which expire on June 30, 2007.
At the G-8 summit, President Bush and other world leaders urged negotiators to keep working beyond a self-imposed July 31 deadline to come up with the outlines of a final agreement.