the global front, the United
is pressing an initiative to regain momentum in 2004. Having played a key role in launching
the Doha Development Agenda, the United
followed up by proposing the elimination of all global tariffs on consumer and
industrial goods by 2015, substantial cuts in farm tariffs and trade distorting
subsidies, and broad opening of services markets. Indeed, we are the only major
country in the negotiations to put forward ambitious proposals in all three
areas of the market access negotiations. These proposals reflect extensive
consultations with Congress and the private sector. In addition to laying the
groundwork for bold market opening, the
took the lead in resolving the contentious access to medicines issue in August
2003. But at the Cancun WTO meeting in September, some wanted to pocket our
offers on agriculture, goods, and services without opening their own markets, a
position we will not accept.
the deadlock at Cancun,
continued its leadership role in the Doha
negotiations. Only a few weeks after Cancun,
more than twenty diverse APEC economies joined the
in calling for a resumption of WTO negotiations, using the last
text as a point of departure. In December, the WTO General Council completed its
work for the year with an important report by its Chairman on the key issues
that need to be addressed if the Doha Development Agenda is to move forward.
signs that many countries concluded that the Cancun
impasse was a lost opportunity, the Administration, in January, put forward a
number of “common sense” suggestions to move the
negotiations forward in 2004. In a letter to all WTO ministers responsible for
trade, the United
offered a realistic assessment that progress this year will depend on the
willingness of Members to focus on the core agenda of market access for
agriculture, manufactured goods, and services. In agriculture, the letter
suggested that WTO Members agree to eliminate agricultural export subsidies by a
date certain, agree to substantially decrease and harmonize levels of
trade-distorting domestic support, and seek a substantial increase in real
market access opportunities both in developed and major developing economies.
The letter noted that the United
continues to stand by its 2002 proposal to set a goal of total elimination of
trade-distorting agricultural subsidies and barriers to market access.
manufactured goods, the United
proposed that WTO Members pursue an ambitious tariff-cutting formula that
includes sufficient flexibility so that the methodology will work for all
economies. In addition to the tariff cutting formula, sectoral zero-tariff
initiatives would be an integral part of the negotiations, and the
suggested use of a “critical mass” approach to define participation in sectoral
initiatives. The United
also emphasized the consensus for addressing nontariff trade barriers in the
the important area of services, the United
suggested that Ministers press for meaningful services offers from a majority of
WTO members, as well as make available technical assistance to help developing
countries present offers. With regard to the so-called “Singapore Issues,” the
now suggests proceeding solely with negotiations on trade facilitation.
initial response to this initiative has been very positive both from overseas
and among domestic constituencies, suggesting that 2004 need not be a lost year
for the Doha WTO negotiations. As a follow-up step, the Administration has
initiated a series of consultations in Geneva
and in capitals to meet with Ministers and senior officials, listen to ideas,
and work for progress.
The above was excerpted from the President's 2004 Trade Policy Agenda. Click Here for the full report, released in March 2004.