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OECD Ministers Committed to Doha Round Progress


The Hon Mark Vaile, MP

Minister for Trade, Australia

Media releases

Friday 17, May 2002 / MVT 044/2002

OECD Ministers Committed to Doha Round Progress

Trade Minister, Mark Vaile has welcomed the outcome of OECD discussions by trade ministers on the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Development Agenda.

Speaking in Paris, Mr Vaile said OECD Ministers have reaffirmed their pledge not to use protectionism, and to build momentum in the Doha Round of WTO negotiations.

“Their statement is particularly encouraging, given the concerns of many members following recent developments in global trading like the US steel safeguards action and the US Farm Bill,” Mr Vaile said.

“Yesterday Deputy United States Trade Representative, Peter Allgeier, delivered a message that was particularly positive. He said;

“I’d like to address directly a concern on the mind of probably everyone in this room. In the light of recent legislation in the United States, as well as proposals being debated in the US Senate in the context of TPA [Trade Promotion Authority], many of our trading partners are asking, “Is the US committed to the Doha agenda, and indeed to trade liberalisation in general?”

“The answer is unequivocal. Yes, we are committed to exercising the same leadership in negotiating the Doha agenda as we exercised – with many others – in defining the Doha agenda last November.”

“Yes, we are committed to an ambitious negotiating result in agriculture, encompassing all three pillars enunciated in the Doha Declaration. Proposals we present in Geneva will demonstrate that.”

“Nonetheless the United States will need to work hard to re-establish their leadership and credibility in this area.”

Mr Vaile said OECD Ministers have also called on WTO members to address the market access concerns of developing countries in areas such as agriculture and textiles, which will be essential if the development aspects of the Doha agenda are to be achieved.

“OECD members have also committed to work together to address tension in the steel sector and concerns that have arisen in the multilateral trading system as a result of US steel import restrictions.”

ENDS

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