WASHINGTON – U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick will travel to Davos, Switzerland January 28-30 to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) and discuss with his colleagues how to sharpen the focus of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), and keep the talks on schedule. Opening markets has been a prime goal of President Bush, and as USTR, he has made the Doha negotiations a top priority. Zoellick played a leading role in launching them in November 2001, advancing ambitious U.S. proposals in agriculture, goods, and services, and also in getting the talks back on track during 2004 by traveling over 75,000 miles to meet with over 50 colleagues.
"A successful Doha negotiation provides the best opportunity to promote global economic growth and development, particularly in the developing world. Our meetings in Davos provide a useful forum to discuss ways to take the Geneva Framework agreed upon last July, sharpen the focus, and continue to press for ambition this year as we look towards the December Ministerial in Hong Kong," Zoellick said. "Much hard work remains if we are to realize the promise of Doha. We must continue to clear away the remaining underbrush and focus on reaching ambitious and achievable benchmarks among the three core areas of agriculture, goods and services."
"While we have different negotiating positions, we know that economic openness offers the best hope for our respective peoples and we are committed to helping our countries prosper. I’m personally very proud of our shared accomplishments in the WTO and I have enjoyed working with such talented people from so many different countries," added Zoellick. "President Bush and the Administration remain fully committed to the Doha Development Agenda."
On Friday, January 28, Zoellick will participate in a meeting with the International Business Council and hold a number of bilateral meetings, among them with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Indian Trade Minister Kamal Nath, and Economics and Labor Minister Wolfgang Clement of Germany.
Zoellick will participate in a WEF panel "Keeping the Global Economy Running" the morning of Saturday, January 29. He will meet bilaterally with Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Pangestu and Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and in the afternoon he will join an informal session of ministers responsible for trade to discuss the Doha Development Agenda.
On Sunday, January 30 Zoellick will hold a bilateral meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.
On Monday, January 31, Zoellick will meet in Zurich with Russian Trade Minister German Gref to review Russia’s WTO accession efforts.
Background on U.S. Efforts in 2004:
In 2004, the United States pressed for action on the Doha agenda. 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.
Background on U.S. Negotiating Proposals:
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).
In services, the United States proposed liberalizing global trade in services by removing foreign barriers in areas such as financial services, telecom, express delivery, energy, among others. Service industries are a major component of U.S. economic activity, accounting for 80 percent of U.S. employment and 63 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The United States also is the world's largest exporter of services. U.S. services exports have increased more than 70% in the last 10 years, increasing from $199 billion in 1994 to $340 billion in 2004 (estimated from 11 months data).
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.