Robert B. Zoellick, U.S. Trade
Ann M. Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture
on the Doha
Development Agenda Negotiations
"When we helped
launch the Doha Development Agenda in November 2001, we knew that the path to
ultimate success would face twists and turns, ups and downs. Given the 145
economies involved, the scope of issues in the world economy, the range of
interests, and the diversity of development represented by the participants, the
one certainty about these global negotiations was that they would not be simple,
straightforward, or easy.
States believes that this great worldwide venture needs to target grand trade
goals: to slash agricultural subsidies and tariffs; to eliminate tariffs on
industrial and consumer goods; and to vastly expand opportunities for the
fast-emerging services trade. U.S. proposals have backed this vision of global
openness, growth, and development with bold offers, demonstrating concretely
what actions the United States will take to open its markets if others join with
been and will be at the heart of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations. Trade
cannot promote the development of countries across Latin America, Africa, and
Asia without much freer movement of farm products among all WTO members.
Agricultural exporters have a justifiable interest in reducing barriers to their
trade, just as past global negotiations have cut the cost of trade in industrial
and consumer goods; indeed, major industrial powers should recognize this need
for more equal treatment. By opening agricultural markets, consumers around the
world would benefit from more choice of foods at lower prices, with the greatest
benefits gained by families with lower incomes and less money to spend on their
proposal to reform the world agricultural trade takes a long stride toward the
goals we should be seeking, and which were detailed in the Doha mandate. We want
to eliminate export subsidies. We want to cut other subsidies that distort farm
production by $100 billion, in the process harmonizing the amount of permitted
subsidies at much lower levels -- moving toward fairer, more equal treatment on
the path to eliminating these subsidies, too. We want to cut global agricultural
tariffs by 75 percent, with no tariff higher than 25 percent.
question is whether the members of the WTO are willing to step up to the
challenge of serious reform of the world agricultural trade, a goal we specified
in the Doha mandate.
"The Chair of the
agricultural negotiating group, Stuart Harbinson, should be commended for his
leadership in moving the process forward.
Harbinson's paper is not completely satisfactory to the United States at this
stage. But it does highlight that a large number of countries, including the
United States, are ready to advance significant reform, to cut subsidies and
tariffs substantially, if we all move together. But a number of key countries
are holding back.
States is disappointed, but not surprised, that resistance to change and reform
of the world agricultural trade stymied agreement on the modalities for cuts in
subsidies and tariffs by the March 31 deadline.
"Yet there are
still win-win possibilities to be recognized and promoted. We hope the member
states of the European Union recognize that the European Commission's proposals
for reform of Europe's Common Agricultural Program would serve Europe's own
interests for the future and simultaneously give the Commission more flexibility
to meet the mandate of the Doha Development Agenda. CAP reform is essential as
the EU enlarges with ten new entrants and addresses rural, environmental, and
other objectives. Yet the reforms would also enable the EU to play a critical
role in negotiating broader trade and agricultural liberalization in the Doha
trade talks. Such action would bring benefits for the developing world, European
businesses and consumers, and the EU economy as a whole. The Commission's
reforms of the CAP may not be sufficient for a good WTO result, but they are
"Japan and a few
other countries that should otherwise join us to support broad agricultural
subsidy and tariff reform and more open markets for farm exports are holding
back the Doha Development Agenda in order to preserve tariffs for a few
products. A path forward needs to be found so that these high protective tariffs
-- 500 to 1000 percent -- do not hold back the Doha negotiations.
developing countries have a powerful interest in broad-based reform for all
countries. In particular, reducing trade barriers in developing countries will
yield benefits through expanded south-south trade and by increasing market
openness in their own economies. Global agricultural liberalization will create
economic opportunity, greater certainty, and more liberal economic policies,
thereby encouraging investment, growth, and development.
face political difficulties in these negotiations. We need to help one another
work through them, seeking constructive solutions.
"In doing so, we
should not settle for insignificant changes in the global agricultural trade.
This is a once in a generation opportunity to make meaningful changes to the
global trading system. We need to keep our eye on the goal of freer markets for
developing and developed countries alike.
"We also should
not lose our commitment to the Doha Development Agenda effort just because we
encounter problems. The United States counsels patience, but also determination
and concentration. WTO participants need to keep working across the Doha
Development Agenda, exploring ways to bring parties together, to match interests
so that we can move the process toward higher common ground. As we do so, key
participants may gain more flexibility to lower barriers to world
"As the United
States works with others toward the Cancun Ministerial in September, we will
support efforts of the Chair to organize the negotiating process to facilitate
convergence between the members on a result that delivers substantial