Delegation to Participate in Key Meetings with WTO Director-General Lamy, Negotiating Chairs on Agriculture, NAMA and Services
Washington, DC – With recent signs of progress in the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and other leading business groups will participate in a U.S. business delegation to Geneva spearheaded by the American Business Coalition for Doha (ABCDoha) from April 14-16, 2008. While in Geneva, the delegation will meet with WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy and key WTO negotiating chairs, including Ambassadors Don Stephenson, Chairman of Negotiating Group on Market Access; Crawford Falconer, Chairman of the Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture; and Fernando de Mateo, Chairman of the Council on Trade in Services, among others.
“The NFTC and the broader U.S. business community are deeply committed to achieving a meaningful and successful conclusion to the Doha Round as soon as possible this year,” said NFTC Senior Vice President Catherine Bennett, who will represent the NFTC on the trip. “We are encouraged by recent reports from Geneva on progress being made in the negotiations, and we look forward to hearing from the negotiating chairs and ambassadors themselves about how the process is unfolding.”
This is the ABCDoha Coalition’s first mission to Geneva, and the purpose is to gain firsthand knowledge of progress being made on the ground and to underscore the U.S. business community’s commitment to a successful conclusion to the Round. In addition to the NFTC, the delegation includes representatives from the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Automotive Trade Policy Council, CropLife America, the Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT), the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In addition, a number of individual company representatives will participate in the delegation, including six NFTC member companies – Cargill, Kraft, Mars, Phillip Morris International, Toyota and Wal-Mart.
“Given the state of world financial markets and increasingly protectionist sentiments cropping up around the globe, a successful conclusion to the Round would inject optimism into discussions about trade and global commerce. The international community has a real opportunity in the Round to substantially liberalize otherwise closed markets and create a framework for developing nations to prosper,” said Bennett.
“The next several weeks will serve as a test of the global community’s dedication to achieving these lofty, but attainable, goals. It is critical that all nations work together with a real sense of purpose to make the Round work and conclude it successfully this year,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch.