USTR - Statement of Deputy USTR Peter F. Allgeier to the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC)
Office of the United States Trade Representative

 

Statement of Deputy USTR Peter F. Allgeier to the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC)
Geneva, Switzerland 07/28/2005

Mr. Chairman,

·       Let me start by thanking you and the Chairs of the various negotiating bodies for their hard work and the reports that they have submitted.  We all need to work hard at home during the break to obtain negotiating instructions that will enable us to bridge the differences that the Chairs have identified in their reports.

·       Speaking of work at home, I am very pleased to announce that the U.S. House of Representatives early this morning approved our Free-Trade Area Agreement with Central America and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA).  This is very good news for U.S. participation in these WTO negotiations.

·      It is a major victory for those in the United States who stand for further trade liberalization.  It puts a strong wind at our backs as we move into the intensive negotiations here in Geneva in September. 

·       We are grateful to our partners in Central America and the Dominican Republic for demonstrating so clearly that free trade is a critical ingredient in development.

·       Turning back to the situation here in Geneva, like others, my delegation is disappointed that we have not made more progress in moving the DDA forward, but I do not intend to dwell on this point.

·       Successful conclusion of the DDA will yield substantial benefits for the global economy – potentially lifting 300 million people out of poverty. For this reason, we need to move forward in September with renewed intensity, shared responsibility, and most of all, commitments to find compromises, especially in areas that will be difficult for each of us.   The U.S. recognizes this and accepts this task.

·      President Bush has made the DDA and strengthening the WTO the centerpiece of his trade agenda. We are committed to completing the negotiations before the end of 2006, in order to utilize our Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) which the U .S. Congress just renewed for two years. 

·       What must each of us do to move in September toward success at Hong KongHong Kong will only succeed if it is well prepared, and provided we set our sights high in terms of ambition. 

·      In the core areas of agriculture, NAMA and services, we need to think and act ambitiously and to set a vision for the trading system well into the next decade.  
 

Agriculture


·      First, we must continue to aim high in agriculture. That’s clearly what President Bush signaled when at Gleneagles he challenged others to join us to eliminate all trade distorting domestic support.

·      We salute Tim Groser and are most grateful for his outstanding efforts to build on the July 2004 Framework.   

·       The Negotiating Group continues to face significant challenges, not the least of which is market access, where we have not yet agreed on a structure for negotiations. This is in stark contrast to the other pillars of domestic support and export subsidies, where we do have structures. 

·      On market access, in recent weeks there have been signals that all want to find a middle ground – somewhere between the ambitions of those who have advocated a Swiss formula, and those who have wanted to use the approach from the Uruguay Round.  In this regard, the G20 has offered some useful suggestions on structure that have helped us to focus our discussions.

·      We will continue, despite the summer recess, to seek a consensus that will ensure improved market access for all products, particularly in making deeper cuts in higher tariffs.   All of this, we submit, can be done in a manner that builds upon, rather than tears down, the July 2004 Framework. 

·       On domestic support, we’ve seen progress on the structure for reductions.  We recognize that a strong outcome on domestic support will require important changes in our farm programs – indeed we’re already making changes -- but changes cannot be made by just one country. 

·      In the United States, there is a saying that “your word is your bond.” We made a commitment at Doha, we reinforced it last July in the 2004 Framework, and our participation in the agriculture talks continues to be guided by our strong commitment to real agricultural reform. 

·       For some reason, those who subsidize the most still seek reassurance with respect to the question of domestic support: so let me be clear yet again.  The United States is committed to meaningful reform in domestic support measures in all countries. That includes a substantial reduction in the allowed level of trade-distorting domestic support, product-specific caps on the 'amber box', a cap on partially decoupled payments under the 'blue box', and new criteria to ensure that all countries' partially decoupled support payments are less trade-distorting than amber box payments.

·      The United States expects all countries to reduce trade-distorting support in these negotiations and looks forward to the day when all trade-distorting support and tariff barriers are eliminated. 

·      A final word on cotton, which remains a very important issue, particularly for our partners in Africa.  Significant progress has been recorded on two fronts: first, on development where there have been significant steps specifically on cotton since our meetings last July.  I would also add that those countries most concerned about cotton were helped more broadly by the very important steps that we and other G-8 Members took related to Africa when our Leaders met at Gleneagles. 

·      On July 20, West African Ministers issued a declaration welcoming U.S. actions on cotton related to our agricultural trade programs. We also welcome the most recent exchange that took place on the occasion of the AGOA Forum, hosted by Senegal.  We understand the importance of this issue and we will continue to work with our partners for reform in this sector.     

Non-Agricultural Market Access

·       The path ahead on NAMA is much clearer, given the work that has been done in the past several weeks.  We thank Chairman Johannessen for helping us to define this path.  Several constructive ideas are on the table.  There have been signals of flexibility from all sides about finding the right formula and the use of coefficients to realize real market access opportunities.  We need quickly in September to turn these signals of convergence into compromises that work for all. 

·       Resolution of the technical issues of product coverage and AVES must also come quickly, so that we can finalize possible approaches on the formula and the treatment of unbound tariffs. 

·       Work on sectors and NTBs must intensify so that by the time of the Hong Kong meeting we have a clear direction on how each of us will table our offers in 2006 and engage in the final negotiations.   

·      We need to build the bridges to one another to be ambitious, while being sensitive to one another’s real needs and concerns. Our expectations for the beginning of September are that all will return to the table ready to find solutions. 

Services


·       A pro-development strategy requires a strong network of services infrastructure for an economy to grow. For this reason, we have been working with others to see how we can lift our sights on services.  We strongly support Chairman Jara’s efforts to do exactly that.  We appreciate his clear delineation of organization of our future work.

·      As reflected in Chairman Jara’s Report to the TNC, we have an ambitious work plan for services covering market access, domestic regulation, development and to ensure that the good work done by the various friends groups helps us to build up the package of liberalization commitments. 

·      We all need to commit to engage fully on this work plan so that we can be assured of a robust and comprehensive negotiating agenda for services as negotiations proceed in agriculture and NAMA. 

·      We are encouraged by the signals that partners are still working on revised offers, and hope that those who have not yet tabled revised offers do so before we return in September. 

Trade Facilitation


·       We believe that useful work has been done to date – we are encouraged by the number of proposals on the table and the seriousness of purpose that Members are demonstrating.  New alliances are being forged and we are particularly pleased that this is an area where least-developed countries have been active, including tabling of proposals. 

·      We will work with Chairman Noor and others to chart a path to Hong Kong and beyond that will secure a very important result, and one that should contribute to the market access result.

Development


·      The most important contribution to development will be if we succeed in opening new markets in the core areas of agriculture, NAMA and services.  That should be the primary focus of our development efforts.

·       We thank Chairman Ismail for his work in the Committee on Trade and Development in Special Session, to address the range of special and differential treatment elements in the mandate, particularly those of the least-developed countries.  We look forward to completing this work in the autumn in a way that enhances the rules-based trading system. 

·       There has been important work on capacity building, including work on improving the Integrated Framework and closer cooperation with the International Trade Centre, in particular.   We need to build on that progress.

·      In addition to our multilateral efforts regarding capacity building, we have undertaken additional bilateral efforts, including the launch of President Bush's African Global Competitiveness Initiative. The Initiative will further the work of Trade Hubs, located in Ghana, Botswana and Kenya, and provides for an additional Hub in Senegal to enable African economies to take advantage of our AGOA program.

Rules


·      All the issues in this area, whether it is antidumping, subsidies, fish subsidies or RTAs, are important to Members. Thanks to the work of Chairman Valles, there is substantive engagement on these issues – and by the time we leave Hong Kong we will need to have set the stage for text based negotiations.   We are prepared to do that, and we presume that others are as well.

Conclusion 


·      Dr. Supachai, thank you for your leadership as Chairman of the TNC in helping us reach this stage of the DDA. We are pleased that you will remain in Geneva, so that you can see first-hand the success that we finally achieve.  We look forward to your continued support and cooperation as you take up your new post, and we wish you the greatest success.

 
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