Well, thank you all very much for being here, for your patience. Our
meeting went over a little bit, because we had a lot to talk about. And we have
a lot to talk about because the EU and the
US share so much in common in terms of our
On Monday we will have the opportunity to
have the EU-US Summit, and one of the discussion points we just had in our
meeting was what we hope to come out of that Summit. This is to encourage our transatlantic
business cooperation which is extensive.
We hope to be able to make further progress on regulatory cooperation, for
instance, as well as make additional gains together in terms of enforcing
intellectual property rights.
And today our discussion was about
preparations for that Summit, and again was very constructive and
helpful. We also talked about the Doha round. The WTO Doha round is one that the EU and the
US both feel very strongly about. We have so
much in common in terms of our interest in reducing barriers around the globe.
In areas of services and the area of non-agricultural products and, of course, in the
area of agriculture, and again we had a very constructive conversation on those
issues, a candid assessment of where we are. Commissioner Mandelson was able to
give me a report from Geneva, and as I said in the past we are concerned
that the talks have lagged. We would like to see more progress, and Commissioner
Mandelson’s report to me was that indeed there is a need for more progress. We
talked specifically how to make that progress together reaching out of course to
the other countries in the WTO, and working together. I was able to give him a
brief report on my trip to Korea, the APEC meetings, and the progress we were
able to make there in the area of non-agricultural market access, particularly
in the adoption by the APEC countries of the so called Swiss formula.
This is a period of time where there will be
an intensification of our cooperation, between the EU and the
States, as well as other countries. Some of you
know there is a meeting scheduled in China, Dalian, in mid-July. We then expect there to be successful
General Council meeting at the end of July. I expect to go to
Geneva for that. We then are moving toward the end
of the year meeting in Hong Kong and that Hong Kong Ministerial is extremely
important to make sure that we meet our targets on a successful completion of
So again, today we had a very good
discussion, frank exchange of where we are and how we can work together and move
forward to advance our mutual agendas of reducing barriers to goods and services
and encouraging economic development. Not just in our countries as the two
largest trading partners in the world, but significantly for the developing
world. We truly believe that by knocking down barriers we will be able to pull
millions of people out of poverty and to improve economic prosperity, not just
again in the countries we represent but across the globe.
COMMISSIONER MANDELSON: Rob, thank you very much. We’ve had another
not only a very constructive meeting but an enjoyable meeting. So I’ve been glad
to have the opportunity to review a number of things with Rob getting ready for
the summit on Monday, as well as the chief focus, as he said, of our discussions
this morning which have been on the Doha round.
Can I just say on the EU-US relationship?
This is such an important relationship. It’s a billion dollar-a-day
relationship, that’s how important it is.
That’s why when we work together on global and international issues, and
strengthen our bilateral economic ties.
That’s not just good for us, it’s good for the rest of the world. And I’m
always mindful of that, which is why I am glad of the opportunity to work as
closely as I do with Rob Portman. He’s had his hands full since he came into
office here but it doesn’t stop him traveling and making an impact elsewhere in
the world. And I appreciate that.
On the DDA, there is an urgent need for
reinvigorated leadership from the United States and Europe, but also from those
other major developing countries who stand to gain most from open markets, from
freeing up trade and from better rules in our international trading system and
we are going to intensify our efforts in the round and working closer together
in the coming weeks. It’s a very, very important period, but we also want to
work very closely with other nations, key players in this round. There’s some
leading development countries who need to make a clear commitment to real not
theoretical market openings in sectors that matter to them and us so that we can
get a clear win-win outcome with ambitious results from the
Doha round. That’s important if we are going to
carry it politically but it is even more important if we’re going to deliver not
only for our communities whom we represent but for some very hard pressed and
very needy developing countries in the world.
The Doha round in particular must deliver for
Africa, but I’ll just say this, that giving market access to the poorest in the
world without also helping them to build capacity to exploit it is like putting
a plate of food in front of a man without the knife and fork to eat it. So we’ve
to invest in capacities, in strengthening the supply side of developing
countries to enable them to avail themselves of the opportunities, the market
opening, the trade liberalizing that we believe in, in which we believe will
flow from a successful round. So, in addition to those meetings that are coming
up between now and the August break, we have our eyes set on
Kong. It’s going to
be a very important meeting at the end of the year and we certainly will be
working hard, re-doubling our efforts to make sure it comes to an ambitious
achievement at the end of the year for a successful round completed beyond
Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Due to the schedule, we have time for 3 or
REPORTER: Ambassador Portman somebody else has said
that the best way to solve aircraft disputes was to throw it into the Doha
Round. Are you supportive of that idea? Are you supportive of Airbus proposals
which (inaudible) launch aid to indirect support?
USTR PORTMAN: I think the Doha Round is having enough
trouble getting off the ground. To use your aircraft
COMMISSIONER MANDELSON: I’m sure they’ll love
USTR PORTMAN: I told Peter as we were downstairs that if
I received a question on Boeing-Airbus dispute, I was going to make the comment
that we wouldn’t want to take away from the great press that the Paris Air show
is getting this weekend by talking about it. But we did have a discussion about
the issue of course and we continue to have positions that are publicly known.
We both would like to see a negotiated settlement. The talks will continue. Our
doors are open, as Commissioner Mandelson and I know. We hope to be able to
resolve the issue.
REPORTER: Did you discuss
Russia’s accession into the WTO? Are we on track
for completing our bilateral negotiations by the end of the year?
USTR PORTMAN: I had a great meeting with Minister Gref in
Korea and went into some depth. He is a very
capable, very bright negotiator. He was well informed on all the issues, as you
know we had a great success earlier this week when we signed the meat poultry
agreement with Russia. I think it had been over a year and coming
so that the signature was welcomed. So we are making progress. It’s not an issue
we discussed in depth today between us. It was mentioned but I would hope that
we can resolve the issues by year end. As you know this is one of those issues
that is not typical and it involves our U.S. Congress approving the accession
because of the Jackson-Vanik commitment. So it’s one that we will be following
very, very closely not just to work out an appropriate agreement with Russia, I
know the EU has already worked out an agreement but also working and consulting
carefully with the U.S Congress.
REPORTER: Will you respond to the question on the
aircraft dispute? And do you agree you are willing to continue talks even as the
cases go through the WTO?
COMMISSIONER MANDELSON: The channels of communication between us
are open, I mean, of course. I don’t think I can improve on what Rob said, to be
honest. I thought he spoke for both of us on what he said.
REPORTER: Does that change your position? I thought
the EU was not going to talk if the case was filed?
COMMISSIONER MANDELSON: Are you suggesting that Rob and I would
stop talking to each other about anything? [Laughter] You’ve got to be
REPORTER: How hopeful are you that you can get
COMMISSIONER MANDELSON: I am a politician and therefore I’m an
REPORTER: Mr. Portman, (inaudible) you mentioned
progress in the Doha round? Can you be more specific? Do you have
any specific ideas of what the US and the EU can do?
USTR PORTMAN: Frankly, Peter brought with him some very
substantive and specific information from Geneva that was helpful to me as to where we are on
agricultural negotiations. There are ongoing meetings, as you know, at the
senior official level with regard to the progress on the non-agricultural market
access talks after the APEC meeting and where we are with the Swiss formula and
how the coefficients might work and then finally on services and what kind of
offers we’re getting and so on. So
it was helpful for me to get that report.
I was able to report to him some of the
information that I was able to receive in Korea and some of the information that
we’ve received from our individual meetings we’ve had, bilateral meetings, even
this week and again the EU and the US share considerable common ground on the
specific issues and we share the same goal which is an ambitious completion of
the Doha round that helps again not just the countries we represent, but that
helps the rest of the world and we are true believers in the value of market
access and the value of reducing barriers. And so we talked again about not just
the assessment of where we are but how to make progress moving forward. We are
now hopeful that after the discussions in
China we can make even more progress, then moving
forward to Geneva at the end of July.
MODERATOR: Last question.
USTR PORTMAN: Could I interrupt you? I’d like
Commissioner Mandelson to have a chance to answer your questions as
COMMISSIONER MANDELSON: On Doha. Look the round is not going as quickly as
we would like, we’re not making as much substantive progress as we would prefer.
But it is going better than sometimes appears. I mean quietly behind the scenes
there are a number of various negotiations which are making progress, where
positions are converging. It will be nice to be able to bring these more out
into the open in order to demonstrate the value of the work that’s being done
but I would rather we traveled thoroughly and carefully than hurriedly. We need
to get to the end of this round, as Rob says, in an ambitious way. Of course,
it’s easy to head for some lowest common denominator basis of any negotiation.
If we wanted a quick fix, we can agree on very little and then produce for you a
finely packaged result. That’s not what we want. We want something bigger and
better. If that takes more work and more time then so be it. We’re certainly
going to intensify our efforts. We’ve identified a number of areas where we can
share our homework together but we want to work with others, too. There are a
variety of different players and constituencies in this round and our work, our
relationship with all of them is very important indeed to us and that’s how
we’re going to continue working on this.
REPORTER: Just a quick question on the
Summit - I understand that there is still not an
agreed economic agenda for the Summit and it’s resulting in 4-5 hour
teleconferences everyday and exchanging…
COMMISSIONER MANDELSON: Good. Let them work for their incomes and
(inaudible). About time, too, they shared a bit of…
REPORTER: What’s the sticking point? Why
COMMISSIONER MANDELSON: Don’t you want to save something up for the
politicians to decide? Why should everything be decided and cooked in advance? I
gather that there are texts and things being worked on but we’ve got something
to say about these things as well.
USTR PORTMAN: Let me just add to that. Peter indicates we
need to be sure that there’s staff working, we need to be sure our bosses are
working, too. After all, the heads of state will be here to make
COMMISSIONER MANDELSON: (Inaudible)
USTR PORTMAN: Just like in the Constitution. Seriously, I
think it will be a productive meeting on Monday but we did not today make
decisions as to the Summit. The Summit is on Monday and Tuesday. We think the
preparations are going well. I mention regulatory cooperation because that’s an
issue that has been brought to the fore by the Transatlantic Business Alliance
and it’s an issue I think can be quite productively dealt with in the context of
the Summit cause there’s some obvious changes we can make in business practices,
rules, regulations to make it easier to do business but another one is
intellectual property reform. The intellectual property issue is one that has
gained more and more interest in the US Congress as you probably noticed as it
relates to China. But it’s not just about
China. It’s about a good global effort to be sure
that patents and trademarks and copyright are protected that the innovators,
entrepreneurs and artists have their work protected. It’s about private property
and what you will see I think on Monday is a strong statement by the European
Union and the United
States on that regard.
MODERATOR: Thank you all.
REPORTER: (inaudible)...the importance for the
European Union for CAFTA to pass?
USTR PORTMAN: Peter what do you think about
COMMISSIONER MANDELSON: Well, as you know I've got fairly strong
views on this and I think all contributions are welcome to getting CAFTA
through. It would certainly send a very positive signal to the rest of the world
if CAFTA went through and I hope it does. A lot of people outside of
America are banking on this going through, we want
to see it happen.
Thank you all very much.