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Statement by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Ambassador to the WTO Michael Punke at the Trade Session of the OECD Ministerial Conference Meeting

Statement by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Ambassador to the WTO Michael Punke

Trade Session of the OECD Ministerial Conference Meeting
Paris, France
May 30, 2013

"The United States highly values the work of the Trade Committee and appreciates its continued efforts to further the OECD’s shared principles of open markets, the rule of law, and fighting protectionism.

"We have found the new input-output tables measuring Trade in Value Added (TiVA) to be particularly cutting-edge.

"The new data on the numerous times intermediate goods and services cross borders is generating a renewed and positive debate on the importance of reducing barriers to trade.

"There is more focus and attention on how tariffs and inefficient border procedures are cumulative, and that services restrictions can negatively affect trade in goods.

"For our part, we are gaining a greater appreciation of the importance of U.S. content in traded intermediate goods and services.

"For example, measuring U.S. trade in traditional terms on the basis of end products and services shows that services account for roughly 30 percent of overall U.S. gross exports. However, measuring services trade taking into account value added demonstrates that services account for 55 percent of U.S. value-added exports.

"We are also getting a better handle on the role of imports in export performance, as well as a better understanding of the value-added content of imports that originate in the importing country (i.e., the percent of U.S. content in goods we import).

"All of this taken together is demonstrating how interconnected our markets are for exports and imports and why on-going work to avoid protectionist measures and advance liberalization efforts must continue.

"This information strongly reinforces our resolve to achieve a broad and comprehensive expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) as quickly as possible.

"The value added data on services is also demonstrating the tremendous benefits that can be shared by expanding services market access and developing new, internationally agreed rules and standards under the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA).

"We also look forward to welcoming the completion of the OECD’s work on a services trade restrictiveness index (STRI) at next year’s Ministerial.

"The OECD’s most recent analytical work on trade facilitation indicators is confirming what all of us know to be true – that the benefits in terms of potential cost reductions from implementing trade facilitation reforms, will be significant, at around 14 percent for developing countries.

"We recognize that many developing countries require assistance to fully implement trade facilitation reforms so that they can take full advantage of these benefits. But despite Aid for Trade efforts and unprecedented flexibilities being offered, WTO trade facilitation negotiations are not on track.

"And progress still needs to be made on elements of agriculture, as well as on the development issues.

"I will not provide a detailed summary of why efforts to complete a Bali package are faltering but it is safe to say that the moment has come for all WTO Members to offer and accept flexibilities in order to change the current negotiating dynamic. Unreasonable conditionalities will seal our fate.

"We have a real opportunity here to demonstrate that the WTO can deliver negotiated results, particularly in an area with such promise as a Trade Facilitation Agreement, but it will take the constructive engagement of all Members to bring it across the finish line this year.

"In closing, we appreciate the OECD’s analytical work that has been helping Members in on-going liberalization efforts, encourage work to continue in trade facilitation and services, and look forward to forthcoming analysis on global value chains and employment, state owned enterprises, export restrictions, and localization barriers to trade."