Ladies and Gentlemen, Ambassador Zoellick and I have had our first
substantive meeting, and I have to say it’s been a very substantative one
indeed. We have focused on the DDA,
on the Doha Development Agenda, and our joint desire and determination to see
that Round make progress during 2005 in the run up to the Hong Kong Ministerial
meeting, which is planned for December, next year. I was recently in
Geneva, and I was able to give the Ambassador a readout of my
impressions on the progress being made, in the different categories of
discussion and negotiations, not just agriculture but in relation to the
manufactures, services, rules, and trade facilitation and other
Both of us I think take the view that some
sharper focus is required and we certainly batted around between us some ideas
that we can share with our partners in these talks, to revitalize the Round to
make sure that it makes the progress we want to see in 2005. And that we seek an early opportunity to
add some political propulsion and some momentum. That we certainly wouldn’t dream of
trying to do alone. We have
important partners with whom to do that, with whom we’ll be in contact in having
discussions over the next few weeks and into the new year.
But I would like to say that I have enjoyed
these first talks very much indeed, with the Ambassador. He has shown me considerable courtesy,
he has been very forthcoming, and for a new kid on the block, I couldn’t have
had a better introducer to some of the complex issues that together we are going
to be taking forward in the weeks and months to come.
Well, I very much enjoyed having my first official meeting with
Peter. We have known each other
over many years, and I think I just, in a conversation or in an email not too
long ago, I mentioned that I first had a chance to meet him at a dinner shortly
before the Prime Minister won his election, so it came at the right
As Peter mentioned, we had a lengthy
discussion, it went on for about three and a half hours, I am sure we could have
gone on for many more hours, but we both have other engagements. We spent most of our time on the
Doha agenda. I was in
Chile, at the APEC meeting, a few weeks ago where
the countries of the Asia Pacific started a push in the direction of gaining
some momentum going into 2005. And
so I was very pleased that we had this opportunity to start
to consult with Peter and his team about some of
the European perspectives on what we need to do to make 2005 a productive
year. I am going from here to some
meetings in West
Africa, but I think, as Peter said we, the key here
is to try to keep up the momentum that we have been able to develop. It is going to take a lot of partners to
make this work but clearly some good cooperation between the
States and Europe is fundamental. We also discussed some bilateral issues,
but on some of those I think we are going to have to have some follow up by
phone and others because most of the time was spent on
Commissioner Mandelson: Ok?
Did you discuss the Boeing and Airbus fight?
As you’d expect us to do, yes we did. We had a very good exchange of positions
on this and if I had any doubt as to where Bob is coming from on all this I
think those doubts were cleared up.
He comes with a very strong position with a set of very strong views on
this subject. And clearly if we are going to avoid litigation and the pursuit of
the cases that both of us have now entered, we’re going to have to have some
pretty serious discussion about the alternative to that litigation. That’s a
discussion that he and I will have in the next couple of
Reporter: Axel Krause. To follow up on that question, there is
some confusion as to whether or not the Administration considers that the 1992
agreement is dead, by unilateral declaration on the
U.S. side. Sources in
Brussels are saying that that is not necessarily the
case, if you read the agreement, it’s possible that you could interpret that as
saying there is still this time to negotiate, leaving open the possibility of a
continuing negotiation of the 1992 Agreement. The question is, what next? Is it the 1992 Agreement, or is it going
to be something different?
Commissioner Mandelson: Well we have to take it forward. I mean I
don’t think it is the most fruitful debate to have is to whether as a result of
the actions that have been taken, whether an agreement is alive or how alive it
is. I’d rather look to the future and sort out how we are going to resolve our
differences on this, and that I am committed to doing.
Noel Forgeard, the CEO of Airbus, has said that either you fight and
litigate within the WTO or you negotiate amicably. Which will it be? You can’t do
Well it’s not actually up to him to determine whether or not that is the
case. But there are two ways
forward, it’s perfectly true, I mean, you might actually do both those things,
there’s no law which says you can’t.
Whether it’s practical to do both, though is a different question. And we
all have our views on that. But I
am more interested in seeing how we can resolve our differences through a
process of negotiation, put together on a mutually agreed basis. If it is not possible to do
that, then obviously the option to proceed with both cases exists.
That option has not been excluded.
Not surprisingly, although all of you have a parochial question on one
topic, I have listened very carefully to what Peter has said, and I find myself
in very general agreement about this.
And so what I think what we all recognize is that this is a very
difficult, complex issue. Peter is
just starting this position, but he’s obviously had a chance to get himself well
versed on a lot of these issues, we’re going to have some further discussions.
Litigation is an option that we remain very prepared for, and may very well take
that course. But
we’ll try to see what alternatives are
present. And frankly, I agree with
what Peter said about the ’92 Agreement. I think it’s kind of a diversion
frankly, what we’re we now are trying to really get at is the underlying
substance of the issue.
I’m shocked to think that you, I’m softening [unintelligible]...
Europe would. Look, one of my first trips was with
Europe, to the European Parliament. And obviously, I had a very good and
effective relationship with Peter’s predecessor, Commissioner Lamy. We got a lot
of things going ahead with the Doha agenda. And that’s one reason why I wanted to
consult and get Peter’s and his colleague’s views about going forward. So, look, I think one of the challenges
in this relationship is how do we work together on some global topics, the
Doha agenda, but there’s others that we talked
about today. But also managing a
series of bilateral disputes, but also opportunities, and Peter mentioned some
again where he’s wanted to strengthen that relationship. So I don’t think I’ve hardened or
softened. I think that for the past
four years I’ve tried to have a cooperative, problem solving, constructive
relationship, and I’m proud, I think we have.
Moderator: Thank you.
And in answer to the previous question, I didn’t hear a great deal of
softening going on this afternoon, and if you had been in the room with me I
think you would have discovered the same thing.