NCC Statement on Conclusion of WTO Meetings in Geneva

NCC Chairman Allen Helms hopes WTO member countries can regain focus on trade liberalization as a path to a successful agreement after WTO ministers concluded without a breakthrough.

Published: July 1, 2006
Updated: July 1, 2006
The most recent talks in Geneva between WTO ministers concluded without a breakthrough leaving the Doha Round negotiations in an uncertain phase.   NCC Chairman Allen Helms stated he hoped WTO member countries could regain focus on trade liberalization as a path to a successful agreement.  “The most significant stumbling block for these negotiations is market access.  Although a large number of studies show that increased market access is vital for the economic future of developing countries, many of those countries are not demonstrating a sincere commitment to worldwide trade liberalization.  Instead, they have focused on loopholes to market access.  Clearly, further work is needed in agricultural and non-agricultural market access talks.”

“In October 2005, the United States tabled an ambitious offer that contained dramatic reductions in domestic agricultural support, the elimination of export subsidies and a balanced proposal for real increases in market access.  The NCC supported the U.S. offer even though it would require significant changes in the U.S. cotton program,” stated Helms.   “The U.S. offer has not been matched.  U.S. Trade Representative Schwab and Agriculture Secretary Johanns have maintained a firm position in the latest round of talks, insisting that the Doha Round maintain a high level of ambition for trade liberalization while committing to changes in domestic support for agriculture if that high level of ambition is achieved.”  

“A positive outcome in Doha, one that truly liberalizes agriculture markets worldwide, will be good for U.S. agriculture.  We continue to support the goals of the United States and the balance in domestic support and market access reflected in the U.S. negotiating position.  We commend the Administration and the Congress for not allowing deadlines to undermine the sound negotiating position of the United States.”