USTR - APEC Ministers Call For Urgent Action On Doha Round
                 
The Office of the United States Trade Representative

APEC Ministers Call For Urgent Action On Doha Round
06/02/2006

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – In a significant statement, Trade Ministers from 21 APEC economies today committed to seek an ambitious agreement in the WTO Doha Round. The statement reiterated the message from APEC Leaders last November on the urgency of moving ahead on agriculture market access to unblock the negotiations.

These Ministers, representing economies that amount for 50 percent of global trade, agreed that a strong market access result is a prerequisite for a successful conclusion of the Round, and intend to support strong formulas that deliver meaningful new opportunities, because the Doha Round offers so much potential to deliver concrete results that expand trade flows and promote global economic development.

"We welcome today’s statement by APEC trade ministers. This gathering – representing many of the world’s most dynamic economies - has made clear that it will stand united in support of an ambitious and robust Doha outcome. The APEC Ministers placed particular emphasis on enhancing market access, especially in agriculture. It is clear that we will not settle for less," said Deputy US Trade Representative Susan Schwab.

"Leadership in trade must be exercised in bold, politically courageous moves with concrete proposals to lift the negotiations to a big overall result. Last fall, the United States set a high standard for success by tabling an ambitious proposal in all areas of the agriculture negotiations. This has yet to be matched by others in agricultural market access. WTO Members already agreed to substantial improvements in market access. This isn’t a U.S. requirement – it is the Doha requirement and what will lead to global economic growth. Today, the APEC economies reiterated their commitment to excercise their leadership to making Doha a success," continued Schwab.

The APEC meeting follows the meeting of trade ministers at the OECD in Paris, France at the end of May. Both ministerial meetings concluded that agriculture market access holds the key to unblocking the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations.

Accounting for $1.8 trillion in U.S. global trade in goods and services, trade with the APEC region is crucial to the United States.


APEC Accomplishments

Strong APEC support for the Doha Development Agenda and for a breakthrough in agricultural market access. APEC economies:

· Continued the strong tradition and leadership and momentum for Doha, calling for urgent action to reach agreement on modalities for agriculture and non-agricultural market access by the end of June.

· Signaled their readiness to support strong formulas that deliver meaningful results in the form of substantial new market opportunities.

· Pledged to focus on the issues in agriculture to ensure a substantial result that generates new trade flows while addressing sensitivities of Members.

· Built on earlier APEC agreement to adopt a Swiss formula for tariff reductions, by using two coefficients for developed and developing economies that deliver real and meaningful market access improvements.


Clear Mandate to Strengthen Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Protection and Enforcement in the Region:

· Agreed to complete two new sets of IPR guidelines by November, when the Leaders of APEC are scheduled to meet in Hanoi. Building on last year’s APEC Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Initiative, these guidelines are aimed at helping the public better comprehend the true value of intellectual property and help ensure infringing goods do not penetrate the business supply chain.

· Recommended that APEC Leaders should endorse the principle that government entities should not use illegal software or other content on their computer networks, especially pertaining to Internet usage. This keeps APEC at the forefront of addressing the growing problem of illegal file sharing on the Internet.


APEC Progress in Promoting High-Standard Free Trade Agreements (FTAs):

· Agreed to intensify work to promote high standard FTAs. With nearly 50 FTAs completed, being negotiated, or under study in the APEC region, it is essential to ensure that FTAs are comprehensive, high-quality and transparent, and contribute to global trade liberalization.

 

APEC Agreement to Endorse Key Technology Choice Principles:

· Agreed to establish, for approval by APEC Leaders in November, a set of technology choice principles designed to promote the development of open, international and voluntary standards, merit- and performance-based government procurement policies, and freedom of technology choice for service providers and consumers.

 

U.S. – Vietnam Bilateral WTO Agreement

· While in Vietnam, Deputy USTR Karan Bhatia signed the historic bilateral WTO Agreement, which will bring Vietnam one step closer to completing negotiations to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). This agreement will enhance U.S. – Vietnam trade relations and create new market access opportunities for U.S. farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and service providers. The United States will continue to work with Vietnam to complete a strong, commercial, multilateral agreement with trading partners in Geneva.

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