Office of the United States Trade Representative


U.S. Makes Submissions to World Trade Organization
Contact: Richard Mills, Ricardo Reyes | (202) 395-3230 03/19/2003

WASHINGTON - The United States today submitted two papers to the World Trade Organization (WTO) that make the case for strengthening global trade rules against unfair trade practices, such as providing government subsidies to industries, and dumping - selling goods at unfairly low prices.

"These papers outline a progressive approach for strengthening rules against the unfair subsidies that too often distort the terms of competition faced by U.S. companies. The rules of the game must be fair," said U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick. "Both papers make it abundantly clear that the underlying principles of the unfair trade rules must not only be preserved, but also advanced, to secure the economic interests of American families, farmers and workers in an international marketplace."

The U.S. papers will be presented to the WTO Rules Negotiating Group, which is part of the ongoing WTO talks within the Doha Development Agenda. Included in the subsidy submission ("Subsidy Disciplines Requiring Clarification and Improvement") as issues for consideration by the Rules Negotiating Group are:

  • prohibition of additional types of subsidies – such as government debt-forgiveness,
  • tougher rules for government loans and investment in private sector companies, and
  • market prices for government sales of natural resources, such as timber and natural gas.

In the other submission ("Identification of Certain Major Issues Under the Antidumping and Subsidies Agreements"), issues raised include:

  • the special needs of producers of seasonal and cyclical agricultural products, due to their shorter growing seasons and perishable products, and
  • the problem of persistent dumped and subsidized imports – as experienced by our steel industry over the years.

The negotiations are centered around antidumping and subsidy/countervailing duty rules. The WTO allows importing countries to impose antidumping duties where an imported product is sold at less than the price for the same product in the exporter's home market, thereby injuring a domestic industry. Similarly, the WTO allows importing countries to impose countervailing duties to offset subsidies provided by foreign governments to benefit imported goods that injure a domestic industry.

Separately, the United States also presented to the WTO Rules Negotiating Group a paper that advocates stronger global trade rules governing subsidies for the fisheries industry, to remedy the economic and environmental damage from over-fishing. The United States is working closely on the fisheries subsidies initiative with a broad coalition of developed and developing countries, including Australia, Chile, Ecuador, Iceland, New Zealand, Peru and the Philippines.

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