Office of the United States Trade Representative


Zoellick Calls Cancun WTO Ministerial Important Midpoint in Global Talks
Contact: Richard Mills/Ricardo Reyes | (202) 395-3230 09/05/2003

U.S. Says Ambitious Frameworks in Agriculture, Goods and Services Talks Are
Once-in-Generation Opportunity to Promote Global Economic Growth and Development

WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick, accompanied by Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman, will lead a U.S. delegation to the 5th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial in Cancun, Mexico September 10-14, 2003, an important midpoint in the ambitious Doha Development Agenda negotiations to lower global barriers in agriculture, goods and services trade. In Cancun, Ministers from 146 WTO members will strive to provide direction to the ongoing negotiations by agreeing to frameworks within which negotiators over the next 15 months will strive to lower barriers.

"We are at the midpoint in the Doha negotiations, and so our goal in Cancun is to provide the appropriate frameworks for us to negotiate real and ambitious trade reform. Less than a week ago, the WTO reached consensus on how to help the poorest countries gain access to medicines. This huge achievement was a top priority for the developing world, and sets a very positive foundation for Cancun," said Zoellick. "We hope that everyone in Cancun will continue in the same spirit and work constructively towards a positive outcome. The United States recognizes the benefits trade provides our farmers, consumers, workers and businesses, and we've led by example with bold, proposals to slash trade barriers in agriculture, goods and services. We will continue to push hard to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity, realize the promise of Doha and promote global economic growth, development and opportunity. But we can=t do this alone - everyone must step up to the plate."

"American agriculture has a big stake in these multilateral negotiations, which present an opportunity for U.S. farmers and ranchers to gain greater access to more and faster-growing markets," said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman. "We will keep our objectives in the forefront at all times and not accept a framework just for the sake of having a framework. We will move toward greater fairness in agricultural trade. And we will strive to bring developing countries more fully into the global trading community." Under-Secretary of State Alan P. Larson and Under-Secretary of Commerce Grant Aldonas will attend the Ministerial. The U.S. delegation will include many agencies of the U.S. government besides USTR, including Agriculture; Commerce; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Federal Trade Commission; Health and Human Services; Homeland Security; Justice; Labor; the National Security Council; State; U.S. Trade and Development Agency; Treasury, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Over 40 Senators and Members of Congress from various Committees such as House Ways and Means; Senate Finance; House and Senate Agriculture; House and Senate Judiciary, and staff will be attending. In addition, 75 statutory business, labor, environmental and consumer trade advisors, and 237 U.S.-based non-governmental organizations are accredited (for a total of over 700 private sector representatives).


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