The Office of the United States Trade Representative

U.S. to Seek Input on Environmental Trade Effects
Contact: Richard Mills/Ricardo Reyes | 998-883-3579 (Cancun) 09/09/2003

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.