Office of the United States Trade Representative


The Doha Development Agenda: A Common-Sense Approach to expanding Free Trade through the WTO
By: Gregory Walters, Director of Small Business Affairs, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative 02/10/2004

After the disappointment of the WTO ministerial in Cancun last October, some worried that momentum for global trade liberalization had stalled. 

The United States, however, does not believe that 2004 need be a lost year for global trade liberalization.  Through letters to every WTO member trade minister, the Bush Administration has proposed that the talks be re-energized through a “common sense approach”, with a focus on the basics of three core areas of industrial goods, agriculture and services. 

In agriculture, the U.S. has suggested that members agree on the elimination of agricultural export subsidies by a date certain, to decrease and harmonize levels of trade-distorting domestic supports, and to substantially increase real market access opportunities both in developed and major developing countries.

In industrial goods, the U.S. has suggested that WTO members should pursue an ambitious tariff-cutting formula for manufactured goods that includes sufficient flexibility so that the methodology will work for all economies.  The U.S. also wishes to tackle non-tariff trade barriers in tandem with the tariff reductions.

In services, the U.S. is committed to real liberalization and suggests that meaningful reform can occur with offers from a majority of WTO members and through technical assistance to help developing countries present such offers.

In addition, the Administration has suggested launching negotiations on trade facilitation, which would cut red tape and the high costs of moving goods across borders.                                           

For U.S. small businesses, open markets create opportunities for increased sales and foster a more stable environment for economic growth.

These are just some of the benefits to U.S. small business from global trade liberalization.

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