Office of the United States Trade Representative


Doha Talks Back on Track as WTO Agrees on Negotiating Framework

GENEVA - World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations were moved ahead this week in Geneva with an agreement that puts the WTO on course to open markets for agriculture, goods and services. The agreed framework provides structure and direction to the ongoing trade talks, which are designed to promote global economic growth and development in developed and developing countries.

“Today’s decision is a crucial step for global trade. After the detour in Cancun, we have put the WTO negotiations back on track. We have laid out a map for the road ahead. Next, we will negotiate the speed limits for how far and how fast we will lower trade barriers,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick. “Tonight, 147 economies have ensured that 2004 will go down as a productive year for the Doha trade negotiations. There’s a lot of work yet to be done. But today’s framework is a milestone.

“We have agreed to make historic reforms in global agriculture trade. We have laid out a course to open markets for manufactured goods. We’ve agreed to intensify negotiations to open services markets, which now account for more than half of the economies of most countries, developed and developing. And we are launching negotiations on customs procedures that will cut red tape and reduce the cost of selling into some countries by as much as fifteen percent.

"We’ve come a long way since Cancun. We have much left to do. But if we can build on the good work of this week, we can deliver a result that will make life better for millions of our citizens.”

“President Bush confounded conventional wisdom by empowering me and my Administration colleagues to make trade success a priority, even in an election year, because he believes open markets build stronger economies and help create jobs in the United States,” said Zoellick.

Click Here for a fact sheet describing the agreement.

Background on U.S. efforts this year:

The United States is focused on opening markets globally, regionally, and bilaterally. Zoellick stated in a January letter to all WTO Ministers that 2004 should not be a lost year for Doha negotiations. The January letter also outlined ways to put the negotiations back on track, and number of ideas have been taken up by others. In February, he traveled over 32,000 miles around the world and met with over 40 counterparts to hear their views and discuss how best to get the negotiations back on track. In May, Zoellick hosted a small gathering of colleagues in London to facilitate a discussion about how to keep the Doha negotiations moving forward. He joined Ministers from the EU, India and Australia at a gathering hosted by Brazil in Sao Paulo in early June. He also joined these colleagues at a meeting in Paris and then traveled to Mauritius on July 12 for a meeting of some of the so-called G-90, a group of ACP (African, Carribean and Pacific), and African Union, and Least Developed Countries.

Before traveling to Geneva, on Sunday Zoellick met with the Ministers of four West African nations (Benin; Burkino Faso; Chad; and, Mali) concerned with cotton trade issues. They were in the U.S. on a working visit hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Cotton Council to meet with U.S. farmers and members of the private sector to focus on cotton diversification and development efforts. A similar visit of U.S. farmers and members of the private sector will visit Western Africa later this year.

Ministers from a wide range of countries joined in the effort to advance the negotiations in Geneva. During the week, Zoellick reached out to a broad group of trading partners in intensive consultations to put the Doha negotiations back on track.


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