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US to strive to bring Third World into WTO ambit

A Govt official said US will move toward greater fairness in agricultural trade and strive to bring developing nations more fully into WTO ambit.

business Updated: Sep 09, 2003 12:00 IST

The US will do its best to integrate the developing world into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime, says a top official who is to lead the American delegation to Cancun, Mexico.

"We are at the midpoint in the Doha negotiations, and so our goal in Cancun is to provide the appropriate framework for us to negotiate real and ambitious trade reform," Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said in a statement.

"We will keep our objectives in the forefront at all times and not accept a framework just for the sake of having a framework," Secretary of Agriculture Ann Ven said.

"We will move toward greater fairness in agricultural trade. And we will strive to bring developing countries more fully into the global trading community."

Zoellick and Veneman will lead the US team to the 5th WTO ministerial meeting in Cancun.

The September 10-14 meeting is expected to be a stepping stone to a final global trade liberalisation accord that countries will negotiate over the next 15 months.

The negotiations are aimed at lowering global barriers in agriculture, goods and services trade.

In Cancun, ministers from 146 WTO members will strive to provide direction to the ongoing negotiations. Less than a week ago, the WTO reached consensus on how to help the poorest countries gain access to medicines.

"This huge achievement was a top priority for the developing world, and sets a very positive foundation for Cancun," said Zoellick.

"We hope that everyone in Cancun will continue in the same spirit and work constructively towards a positive outcome.

"The US recognises the benefits trade provides our farmers, consumers, workers and businesses, and we've led by example with bold, proposals to slash trade barriers in agriculture, goods and services.

"We will continue to push hard to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity, realise the promise of Doha and promote global economic growth, development and opportunity. But we can't do this alone -- everyone must step up to the plate."

Ann Veneman said: "American agriculture has a big stake in these multilateral negotiations, which present an opportunity for US farmers and ranchers to gain greater access to more and faster-growing markets.

"We will keep our objectives in the forefront at all times and not accept a framework just for the sake of having a framework. We will move toward greater fairness in agricultural trade. And we will strive to bring developing countries more fully into the global trading community."

Under-Secretary of State Alan Larson and Under-Secretary of Commerce Grant Aldonas will attend the ministerial meeting.

The US delegation will include many agencies of the US government, including agriculture, commerce, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Trade Commission, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, labour, National Security Council, US Trade and Development Agency, treasury, and the US Agency for International Development.

Over 40 senators and members of Congress are also expected to attend the Cancun meeting.

First Published: Sep 09, 2003 12:00 IST