USTR - USTR Zoellick Remarks at the Conclusion of WTO General Council Meeting, Geneva, Switzerland
                 
The Office of the United States Trade Representative

USTR Zoellick Remarks at the Conclusion of WTO General Council Meeting, Geneva, Switzerland
As prepared for delivery 07/31/2004


In early January, I wrote a letter to all the Trade Ministers in the World Trade Organization, urging that the year 2004 should not be a lost year for the Doha global trade negotiations.

Tonight, 147 economies have ensured that 2004 will go down as a productive year for the Doha trade negotiations.

President Bush confounded conventional wisdom by empowering me and my Administration colleagues to make trade success a priority, even in an election year, because he believes open markets build stronger economies and help create jobs in the United States and opportunity around the world.

Today’s decision is a crucial step for global trade. After the detour in Cancun, we have put these WTO negotiations back on track. We have laid out a map for the road ahead. Next, we will negotiate the speed limits for how far and how fast we will lower trade barriers to growth and development.

We are advancing a strategic economic opportunity… an opportunity to combine an upturn in global economic growth with a global reduction in barriers to trade, so that we can deepen, broaden and extend this economic expansion.

There’s a lot of work yet to be done.

But today’s framework is a milestone. Just consider some of the important
decisions we’ve taken this week.

In Agriculture, we’ve agreed to make historic reforms in global agricultural trade. The agreed framework envisions:

  • The complete elimination of agricultural export subsidies, which the United States and others have been seeking for decades.
  • New disciplines on export credits and, for the first time, on state trading enterprises.
  • The preservation of disciplined food aid programs for humanitarian and development needs.
  • A global commitment to harmonize global trade-distorting farm subsidy programs, to ensure that countries with higher subsidies are subject to deeper cuts, a goal long sought by the U.S. to level the playing field with the European Union and Japan.
  • In fact, our new framework would cut allowed domestic support for agriculture more in the first year than during the entire Uruguay Round.
  • The agreement would also open markets for farm products, with a commitment – for the first time in agriculture – to the concept that higher tariffs should face bigger cuts.
  • The package also commits all of us to substantial improvements in market access for all products, an important principle for a diversified farm producer like the U.S.
  • And we worked in an excellent spirit with our partners in West Africa to produce a good approach to open markets for cotton ambitiously and expeditiously within the agriculture negotiations. The text also recognizes the unique development needs of these economies; and the United States is proud to already assist them with innovative programs to combine aid with trade.

In manufactured products, which account for nearly 60% of all global trade, wehave agreed to work toward:

  • Expanded market access in everything from cars to computers to consumer goods.
  • We’ll see broad cuts in tariffs through a formula that would cut higher
    tariffs faster, supplemented by the possibility of complete elimination of tariffs in key sectors.
  • And we’ll undertake new work to address non-tariff barriers.

In services:

  • We’ve agreed to intensify negotiations to open services markets, which now account for over half of most of our economies, both developed and developing.
    And importantly, we’ve made clear that services are on par with agriculture and manufacturing as a “core” market access area.

Finally, an area that hasn’t gotten as much attention but that I believe will provide tremendous benefits for small businesses, is that we are launching negotiations on trade facilitation.

  • This means we will seek to cut red tape and reduce the cost of selling into some countries by 5% to 15%. We’ll seek expedited customs treatment for express deliveries, and to improve Byzantine customs procedures that cause shipment delays and frustration for small exporters.

In summary, we’ve come a very long way since Cancun. We’ve taken an important step toward opening markets and creating new opportunities. We have much left to do. But if we can build on the good work of this week, we can deliver a result that will make life better for millions of our citizens, in developed and developing countries alike.

To close, I want to thank the extraordinary team that has worked with me day and night – I should say nights, and early mornings, and around the clock – especially from USTR and USDA.

In particular, I want to express my deep appreciation for the leadership and skill of the USTR Deputies here with me: Linnet Deily, Peter Allgeier, and Al Johnson – and the indefatigable head of our WTO team, Dorothy Dwoskin.

I also want to express my respect for the hard work of my Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim, who played a key role in this result.

And I could not close without thanking Pascal Lamy, the EU Commissioner for Trade, who has been an extraordinary partner. His skill, strong sense of public purpose, and political courage were fundamental to our success. 

Thanks to them and many, many others.