CANCUN, MEXICO – U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick
today announced that the United States would seek additional input from the public on the
anticipated environmental effects of a multilateral trade agreement under the Doha
Development Agenda of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Meeting with environmental groups and
businesses on the eve of the 5th Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Cancun, Zoellick
also asked USTR’s official environmental advisory committee to recommend ways to increase
public input to environmental reviews of trade agreements that are mandated under U.S. law.
"Trade creates opportunities for enhanced environmental
protection, and the United States has an action-oriented program on trade and environment," said Zoellick.
"Our state-of-the-art approach combines environmental reviews of proposed trade
agreements and concrete environmental cooperation projects with trading partners. We’re
focused on producing real results."
Under the Trade Act of 2002, proposed trade agreements undergo an
environmental review process, including input from the public and environmental groups.
The United States expects to use much of the information developed during the course of these
reviews to develop programs for cooperation with our free trade agreement partners, such as
the Central American countries. Additionally, on the multilateral front, USTR requested input from
the public on the environmental review of the proposed Doha Development Agenda in
2001 and again in 2002.
"Following Cancun, where we will further develop the framework for
a multilateral trade agreement, it will be important to again seek public input on how
to integrate environmental issues with our trade agenda," Zoellick said.
Today Zoellick also asked the Trade and Environment Policy
Advisory Committee (TEPAC) to suggest ways to further increase the public’s input to these
environmental reviews. TEPAC is appointed by USTR to provide advice on matters involving trade and
the environment. A number of members and staff representatives of TEPAC are in Cancun
for the Ministerial. The full TEPAC will meet again in October.