Chamber Strongly Supports U.S. WTO Proposal
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce endorsed Ambassador Robert Portman's agricultural proposals to break the deadlock in the ongoing World Trade
Organization (WTO) negotiations, calling the proposals "ambitious, yet balanced."
"These proposals represent far-reaching and eminently fair steps to break the Gordian knot that agriculture imposes on the entire negotiating agenda," said Dan Christman, U.S. Chamber senior vice president for international affairs. "Our partners in the EU, Group of 20, and elsewhere should demonstrate their commitment by acting to accept this offer as soon as possible."
The Portman proposals include a well-balanced package of reforms that will reduce trade-distorting export subsidies, increase market access and help rein in costly domestic price supports, according to the Chamber. Negotiations on a wide range of trade topics have been stalled, pending a solution to the agricultural impasse.
"Taken together, these bold proposals would not only lead to a more efficient and competitive agricultural sector, but also inject new momentum for equally important progress in manufacturing and services negotiations.
"Once we get through this impasse, our chances of concluding a comprehensive WTO agreement with benefits to agriculture, businesses and consumers worldwide will be significantly enhanced," Christman said.
WTO ministers will conduct their 6th ministerial meeting – the third since the current round of talks was launched in Doha, Qatar in November 2001 – in Hong Kong from December 13-18. The goal is to conclude the negotiations by the end of 2006.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.
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