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Statement by Ambassador Michael Froman on the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement Protocol Failure

July 31, 2014

Washington, DC – In Bali, seven months ago, the United States worked closely with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Roberto Azevedo and numerous other WTO Members to reach a landmark package of agreements that breathed new life into the WTO.

As part of that package, all WTO Members agreed to take certain actions to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) by July 31. That agreement would have reduced trade costs, especially in developing countries, and would have generated hundreds of billions of dollars in much needed economic activity. 

The United States regrets that a handful of Members have decided not to adhere to their commitment to implement the TFA consistent with the Bali agreement.

The United States has been fully committed to implement all elements of the Bali package, including the decision on food stockpiling, and has provided reassurances and clarifications, as requested.  

In response to these recent developments, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the following:

“The United States is fully committed to the multilateral trading system embodied in the WTO. But the WTO system relies on its Members to implement the commitments to which they have agreed.” 

“Geneva will be quiet for the next several weeks. This is a good time for all of us to reflect on these developments and to consider the implications going forward. We will consult with our trading partners on potential paths forward.”