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George W Bush adds impetus to WTO talks

Hon Jim Sutton MP for Aoraki
Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister for Trade Negotiations, and Associate Minister for Rural Affairs

Media Statement
7 July 2005

George W Bush adds impetus to WTO talks

United States president George W Bush is significantly adding impetus to a faltering WTO Round, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

In the past week, President Bush has offered to abolish domestic agricultural subsidies to American farmers if the European Union did the same, and he has also asked Congress to repeal a federal cotton subsidy to comply with World Trade Organisation rules.

Mr Sutton said he particularly welcomed the Bush Administration move to repeal the federal cotton subsidy - a practical gesture of commitment to the rule of law in international trade.

"It will also enhance the reputation of new United States Trade Representative Robert Portman within the WTO and strengthen the ability of the United States to exercise effective leadership in the faltering Doha Round."

Mr Sutton said President Bush's moves were "dramatic and positive signs of movement" for the multilateral trade negotiations in the build-up to a critical meeting in Hong Kong in December.

"At the moment, it's looking a bit grim.

"Negotiations on non-agriculture products are treading water, agriculture's not going too well either having been bogged down for months on technical issues, and services negotiations are making scant progress also.

"We're running out of time to get solutions."

Mr Sutton said he hoped that WTO members could work together to find a way to successfully conclude the round.

ENDS

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