USTR - Statement Of U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick Following A Meeting With President Mathieu Kerekou of Benin
Office of the United States Trade Representative

 

Statement Of U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick Following A Meeting With President Mathieu Kerekou of Benin
Cotonou, Benin 12/08/2004


Reporter:
  Would you make a brief statement about your meeting with the President?

USTR Zoellick:  We just finished a long and very useful meeting with the President and many of his Ministers and I explained that the reason that I have come to Benin is that earlier this year, this summer, the Minister invited me to come see Benin and to talk about the cotton issue here and listen and be able to learn more about the problems of the cotton industry.  And I promised the Minister that I would do that, and so I’m keeping the pledge and I look forward to having the chance to listen and learn from the Minister, but also from some members of the Parliament as well as some of the farmers. 

And I also want to discuss how to deepen our dialogue on development issues including cotton, to work together in the World Trade Organization in dealing with issues of cotton and other agricultural issues and other issues in trade.  And finally, to also work together on some of the special aid programs that we have in process with Benin, including one called the Millennium Challenge Account, which we are working on with your government to try to determine how best to support your efforts in the agricultural sector and to diversify agriculture and to increase your overall trade position. 

Because while I am the trade minister from the United States, I also serve on the board of that Millennium Challenge Corporation.  So it was a very useful initial meeting and I appreciate that the President took so much time, because I know it has been a very busy schedule, and I’ll have a chance to follow up with the Minister of Commerce, the Minister of Agriculture and their colleagues tomorrow.

Reporter:  Thank you.

 
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