GENEVA, July 1, 2006 - U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today pledged continued U.S. commitment at the conclusion of the World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings in Geneva. The meetings, aimed at breaking the current deadlock, concluded without a breakthrough.
"We remain fully committed to an ambitious, robust round that opens new markets for the world's farmers, manufacturers and service providers," said Schwab. "This is the only way to deliver on the Doha promise as a development round. We have no intention of giving up hope."
Johanns said, "The meetings this week were important - our big task was to agree on how to deliver on the Doha mandate to 'substantially improve' market access in agriculture through programs of fundamental reform and by reducing barriers to industrial goods. We don't have all the answers yet, but the central question of market access is squarely on the table. We also had a long overdue discussion on the balance that we all need to achieve for the Round to succeed."
The U.S. participated in several days of WTO negotiations, which included bilateral and small group meetings. Schwab and Johanns described the situation as serious, but not beyond hope.
Schwab continued, "We are disappointed but we will not be deterred. Last October, the United States took a risk that's associated with leadership by putting on the table a major agricultural offer, expecting that it would be reciprocated by similarly bold moves by others. That hasn't happened yet. Creating new trade flows will be the yardstick that is used to measure our success.
Schwab continued, "As Ministers reflect and consult, with the help of Director General Lamy, we must shift the debate from how to grow loopholes in both agriculture and manufactured goods that undermine liberalization and focus instead on what each of us - developed and developing countries alike - can bring to the table to ensure the Round succeeds. We leave Geneva more determined than ever to stay focused on achieving the promise of Doha.
We are ready to roll up our sleeves and work to find the breakthrough that will enable the successful conclusion of the Doha Round. It is the right thing to do for the U.S. economy, global development, and strengthening of the world trading system."