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United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk Comments at Close of WTO Ministers' Meeting in New Delhi, India

September 04, 2009

New Delhi, India - United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk spoke briefly to press today in New Delhi, India, at the close of a meeting of WTO Ministers there. While in New Delhi, Ambassador Kirk has with fellow WTO Ministers in plurilateral and bilateral meetings to discuss ways of advancing the Doha Development Agenda. Following is a statement from Ambassador Kirk at the conference's close.

"This has been a quick but productive visit to India. On Tuesday, I said that this meeting could be an important step toward success in the Doha Round of world trade negotiations. And it has certainly resulted in renewed energy for these talks.

"I came to New Delhi with the message that the United States is ready to do the real work it will take to move the Doha Round toward a balanced and ambitious conclusion. We came here in the hopes that our trading partners are ready to do the same.

"In two short days, we have seen various nations' readiness, and in some cases reluctance, with regard to the sustained bilateral talks that are necessary along with our multilateral work to move the Doha talks into an endgame. We will work closely with these countries to find a way to engage in these necessary bilateral discussions.

"This fall can be a critical window for meaningful progress on the Doha talks. We need to make progress now to ensure the health of the Round itself. We can build on the multilateral progress made so far, and reinvigorate the process with sustained bilateral engagement, in order to go further. This will provide clarity on what nations will give and get in a final Doha agreement, and will fill existing gaps to ensure an outcome that will bring new market-openings and economic opportunities worldwide.

"The United States' negotiating team is ready now to sit down for sustained talks. And I am pleased that on Thursday, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Michael Punke to USTR's team as well, as U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO in Geneva. Michael Punke is uniquely suited to lead the strong Geneva team that is already in place. I have urged his swift confirmation in the U.S. Senate.

"In the same way, I have urged the ministers here this week to move swiftly as well. It is time to move the Doha Round forward with reinvigorated and meaningful negotiations."