Washington DC – The National Foreign Trade Council joined with three of its European counterpart organizations today to urge the United States and Europe to provide the joint leadership necessary to achieve a meaningful ministerial meeting in Cancun in September and a successful outcome to the WTO Doha Development Agenda (Doha Agenda) by the stated deadline of 2005.
In a letter to USTR Robert Zoellick and EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, the NFTC was joined by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the EU Committee of the American Chamber inBelgium in calling for “concerted joint leadership to accomplish bold objectives to reduce and eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods, services and agriculture. Deep and meaningful reform of agriculture policies in a timely fashion is crucial to determining whether the Doha Agenda achieves these bold objectives.”
“We are making this push with the USTR and the Commission because meaningful progress in trade liberalization through the Doha Development Agenda is of enormous importance to both the United States and Europe, as well as to developing countries,” said Bill Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council. “We have too much at stake in this negotiation to allow it to languish or fail, and it is critically important that the U.S. and EU lead in instilling a renewed sense of urgency to the Doha negotiations to keep them on track toward ultimate success. The recent statements and joint efforts by Ambassador Zoellick and Commissioner Lamy, announced in conjunction with the recent OECD ministerial meeting are encouraging developments, and we hope that the upcoming G-8 and US-EU summit meetings will build on that progress,” stated Reinsch.
The joint association letter emphasizes the importance of achieving meaningful progress on agriculture and renewing the commitment of U.S. and European businesses to the WTO by achieving an ambitious market access agenda. It also makes a strong case for the importance of the Doha Agenda to developing economies. “We also urge that this round not reverse the progress made in previous rounds, particularly with respect to the integration of developing countries into the global economy. We strongly endorse the long overdue attention to the trade-related technical assistance and capacity building needs of developing countries, and the unique needs of least developed countries, particularly in terms of the phasing in of their WTO obligations. All WTO Members, however, stand to benefit from the substantial reduction and elimination of barriers to trade in agriculture, goods and services among all WTO Members. Trade liberalization and open rules-based trade expansion are integral to sound economic development, including attracting needed foreign investment in the developing world.”
A copy of the letter is available at http://www.nftc.org/default/trade/final%20changes%20to%20joint%20association%20letter%20on%20DDA1.pdf
The National Foreign Trade Council is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves 350 member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.