United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk made the following statement at the conclusion of the 7th Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference today in Geneva, Switzerland.
From Ambassador Kirk:
"During the recent and ongoing financial crisis, participation in a rules-based global trading system has led WTO Members to avoid the kind of protectionism that exacerbated the Great Depression. This week in Geneva, we have recognized the need to strengthen and build on that rules-based and cooperative foundation, and to consider the potential of a balanced and ambitious conclusion to the Doha Round.
"In the wake of the financial crisis, the world needs a meaningful outcome at Doha that provides new and real economic opportunities. As President Obama described it, ‘not just any agreement, but an agreement that will open up markets and increase exports around the world.' This will create the widespread economic opportunity necessary to meet the development promise of Doha.
"In the last several months, the United States has sought to work with our trading partners on new approaches to truly move these talks into the endgame. Our team introduced sustained direct bilateral engagement as a way for key partners to achieve needed clarity and close gaps with regard to market-opening contributions by advanced developing countries. The question now is the willingness of partners to engage in a meaningful way.
"WTO members have repeatedly committed this year to moving the Doha Round forward. It is time to act on those commitments, move outside our comfort zones, and make the hard choices required of those who would lead at the WTO.
"In the United States, we recognize that trade can be an important pillar of global economic recovery and of recovery right at home - particularly in terms of creating the well-paid jobs that Americans want and need. And we also recognize the economic necessity of this round to the poorest countries, to which the Obama Administration has made a special commitment.
"This ministerial may be over, but the work will not stop. I look forward to marking progress on the Doha Round, and on many more issues within this rules-based global trading community, when next we meet."