Susan C Schwab

Statement at the WTO Heads of Delegation Meeting - July 24, 2006

Susan C Schwab
July 24, 2006— Geneva, Switzerland
WTO Heads of Delegation Meeting
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Thank you, Pascal. And thank you especially for your unflagging efforts in the past month on behalf of our negotiations. You are correct when you note "significant progress in all areas of negotiations." I regret some of our other speakers are selling short that progress.

It is with a profound sense of disappointment that I take the floor this afternoon. The Doha Development Agenda is our generation’s chance to make a significant contribution to economic growth, the expansion of trade, and – most important – opportunities for millions of people, especially in developing countries, to make a better life for themselves and their families. That’s the promise of Doha. We must not let that opportunity slip through our fingers. Sadly, today we face the prospect of that happening.

Despite the serious setback that we have experienced in recent weeks – and during the past 36 hours – I want to make absolutely clear that the United States remains determined to work with other Members to see the completion of an ambitious Doha agreement – one that opens markets for agricultural and manufactured goods, as well as services. One that effectively disciplines trade distorting subsidies. And one that reflects many of the other interests associated with the single undertaking. Others may sound willing to walk away. The U.S. is not. In fact, in our offer to double Trade Capacity Building assistance to $2.7 billion, we will proceed regardless.

We came to Geneva this weekend with the objective of achieving a breakthrough in the Doha Development Agenda. We came with the aim of achieving modalities that would lead to substantial reform in agriculture in accordance with the 2001 Doha mandate, the July 2004 Framework, and the Hong Kong Declaration. Just a week ago, the G-8 leaders also confirmed this ambitious mandate when they called for "real cuts in tariffs, effective cuts in subsidies and real new trade flows." Following the G-8 meeting in St. Petersburg, the U.S. delegation went home and consulted intensely with Congress and our private sector. We dug deep to find additional flexibilities, and we came to Geneva prepared to further address concerns that our trading partners have raised, in particular:

  • effective cuts in domestic support
  • a willingness to accept lesser tariff cuts than we had proposed in October 2005.

But none of these are possible without evidence of the substantial improvement in market access called for in the Doha Declaration and the 2004 Framework.

We remain committed to do our part to achieve the Doha Development mandate. The United States played a critical role in launching the Doha Round, in getting it back on track following the Cancun Ministerial, in moving it forward last October with our ambitious agricultural proposal, and in sustaining that movement at the Hong Kong Ministerial. We are not giving up now, nor are we going to settle for a mere shadow of Doha’s promise. As countless studies have shown, and according to common sense and the core principles of this organization, for this Development Round to meet its primary objective, significant openings of markets in agriculture, manufactured products and services are required.

And when the United States speaks of the importance of market access for development, we speak as a country that in 2005 imported nearly $1 trillion from the developing world and is running a trade deficit of nearly $500 billion with developing countries. Yet we are prepared to open our markets even further and to reform our agricultural policies – in the context of a Doha agreement worthy of its name.

Last September at the U.N. General Assembly, President Bush made clear the U.S. commitment to a successful Doha Round, and again pledged that "the United States is ready to eliminate all tariffs, subsidies and other barriers to free flow of goods and services as other nations do the same." That offer still holds. And consistent with the President’s commitment, our October 2005 proposal offered big cuts in domestic support and tariffs -- including by the United States. We are still prepared to do more as part of a big market access package. Unfortunately, what we heard this weekend does not suggest that all others are prepared to deliver fully on the basis of the commitments we all made in Doha. Small tariff cuts and layers of loopholes simply do not constitute a substantial improvement in market access, nor would they lead to meaningful new trade flows in agriculture and NAMA. Neither we nor most other members of this organization would be able to obtain public and legislative support for such a tepid outcome. We must do better – much better.

We commend Director-General Lamy for his persistent and patient efforts to facilitate agreement among the members. The United States will continue to work with him – and all of you in this room – to achieve the market-opening and subsidy-reforming objectives of the Doha Development Agenda. Over the next few days, there will be great temptation to engage in acrimony and finger-pointing, in fact, some have already started to engage in this approach, but that will not raise the living standards of a single person, or provide a new market for a single farmer or small enterprise.

Obviously, we all need to reflect upon the current situation, and together develop a sure path that will lead us to the goals that we all established in Doha in 2001. The United States will remain focused on putting the Doha Round on track.

My team and I look forward to consulting and working with your Ministers and delegations in the coming period to succeed.

The United States remains committed to the promise of the Doha Round and to the World Trade Organization and the multilateral system.

Thank you.

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