USTR - Remarks by Acting U.S. Trade Representative Peter F. Allgeier At Closing Press Conference of the Informal Meeting of Trade Ministers in Mombasa, Kenya
Office of the United States Trade Representative


Remarks by Acting U.S. Trade Representative Peter F. Allgeier At Closing Press Conference of the Informal Meeting of Trade Ministers in Mombasa, Kenya

First of all, I wish to express our great appreciation to Kenya's Minister of Trade and Industry, Mukhisa Kituyi, for hosting this informal ministerial meeting and for giving added impetus to the negotiations in Geneva.

The United States is committed to the successful completion of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) by the end of 2006. This goal is shared by the other members at this meeting and, we believe, by the entire membership of the WTO.

But the achievement of that goal will not happen spontaneously through the trade negotiations equivalent of the "Big Bang" theory of the creation of the universe.

Our shared goal will be achieved only if from this point on we methodically identify the negotiating issues that we need to resolve to move ahead in each of the major negotiating areas, and then negotiate solutions to those issues.

That problem solving approach requires all of us to develop structurally sound bridges between our positions and those of our trading partners, including ensuring that we are incorporating appropriate development features in each aspect of our work.

That is why the U.S. a month ago put forward the idea in NAMA (Non-Agriculture Market Access) of using a dual coefficient within a Swiss tariff formula as a possible path to achieve high ambition in market access while providing appropriate flexibility for developing countries.

We're starting to see a response to that initiative - in some cases by other countries embracing the concept; in other cases by countries proposing variations on the concept. These responses are welcome. We're seeing more of a focus on finding a tariff formula in NAMA, which should be the centerpiece of our attention in NAMA at this stage, even as we continue our work on the other essential ingredients of sectorals and NTBs (non-tariff barriers).

This problem-solving approach is also why the U.S. has worked to find a solution to the issue of how to provide transparency within the agriculture negotiations between specific tariffs and ad valorem tariffs. We seem to be on track, as a result of this meeting, to have the technical issues resolved by the end of the next Agricultural Special Session in Geneva in March so that complete data is available for work in April.

This problem-solving approach is also why we sponsored a public-sector private-sector assessment of the problems facing the cotton exporting countries in Africa. We look forward to working with those countries to identify priorities for joint action in addressing the problems that we've identified. We also are working with the West African countries to use our Millennium Challenge Account and its grant program to support their development efforts, including the array of problems facing their agricultural sectors.

We've brought the same problem solving approach to the issue of promoting an ambitious result in services, and we are encouraged by the recognition at this meeting that services negotiations are an integral part of the outcome of the DDA.

We urge our negotiating partners to follow this same problem solving approach, or mentality, across the negotiations.

Development was at the center of our discussion - importantly, Ministers affirmed that the greatest gains to development will come from the core areas of agriculture, services, NAMA and trade facilitation.

We must not sit back and refrain from problem solving in one area of negotiations because we're frustrated at slow progress at any given moment in another area of the negotiations. Everyone should understand that a final agreement will be reached only when there is a satisfactory outcome in each of the main negotiating areas.

click here for printer friendly version

Help Link Site Map Link Contact Us Link
 Search Title Image
Document Library Link
More on the WTO
item: WTO Home
item: The Doha Development Agenda
item: WTO Press Releases
item: WTO Fact Sheets
item: WTO Transcripts
item: WTO Speeches