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. Yesterday,
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
Within the Doha negotiations, the United States was the first WTO
member to put forward a comprehensive agricultural trade reform proposal, calling for
elimination of export subsidies, cuts of $100 billion in annual allowed global trade-distorting
domestic subsidies, and lowering average allowed global tariffs from 62 percent to 15 percent. The
United States also proposed that WTO members agree in this negotiation to a specific date for
elimination of agricultural tariffs and trade-distorting domestic support.
The United States proposed eliminating all tariffs on consumer and
industrial goods by 2015.
The U.S. plan for zero tariffs is comprehensive, would benefit
both developed and developing nations, and would eliminate tariffs on the over $6 trillion in
annual world goods trade, lifting the economic fortunes of workers, families, businesses, and
consumers. A University of Michigan study estimates that global free trade in goods and
services would raise U.S. annual income by $500 billion as a result of tariff-free trade --
contributing to higher paying jobs. The same study found gains of up to $690 billion for the EU and EFTA
together (Western Europe).
According to the World Bank, developing countries would gain
nearly two-thirds of the benefit from global free trade in goods including agriculture. Their
increase in annual income would amount to $539 billion. The bank further found that free trade
could help lift 300 million people out of poverty -- a number greater than the entire population of
the United States.
Regional and bilateral efforts:
The U.S. Congress recently approved free trade agreements with
Australia and Morocco by wide margins (Australia passed the House 314 to 109 and the Senate 80
to 16; Morocco passed the House 323 to 99 and the Senate 85 to 13).
In addition, Congress also recently passed the African Growth and
Opportunity Act (AGOA) Acceleration Act, a duty-free preference program designed to
promote economic development in sub-Saharan Africa’s by expanding access to the U.S. market.
This Administration has completed free trade agreements with 12
countries: Chile, Jordan, Singapore, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa
Rica, Australia, Morocco, the Dominican Republic, and Bahrain. The United States is currently
negotiating free trade agreements with ten more nations: Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru,
Thailand, and with the five nations of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU),
Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Namibia.
New and pending FTA partners, taken together, would constitute
America's third largest export market and the sixth largest economy in the world.
In addition, the United States and Brazil are co-chairs of the
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations, which remain a U.S. priority.