29 Jul 2002
In response to press queries, Min George Yeo said that it appears likely now that President Bush will get TPA. The House passed it narrowly last Saturday and the Senate is expected to approve it this week.
Min Yeo added: "This brightens the global economic picture considerably. Without TPA, the Doha Development Agenda will flounder. US leadership is indispensable in pushing forward global trade liberalization." Min Yeo said that the earlier US measures on steel and the Farm Bill received a lot of international criticisms.
"On steel, there appears to be some kind of a compromise with the EU. A good working relationship between USTR Robert Zoellick and EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy is crucial. Without that, little else can be done. That is the reality. Of course, it is only a necessary condition and, by itself, not sufficient. For the Doha Agenda to progress, all countries have to be brought into the picture, rich and poor, big and small, so that the final outcome of the negotiations meet their interests and concerns. "
Min Yeo, who played a coordinating role in agriculture in both the Seattle and Doha Ministerial Meetings, had this to say about recent developments in agriculture: "The recent joint announcement by Amb Zoellick and US Agriculture Secretary Veneman on US proposals for agricultural negotiations in the WTO is very significant. The US is now indicating clearly its desire to see the elimination of all export subsidies, and the substantial reduction of tariffs and trade-distorting domestic support measures. Last month, the EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler proposed to decouple domestic support measures from production in the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. I hope that member states like France will support this important reform."
Min Yeo added: "Agriculture is the centrepiece of the Doha Agenda. It is in agricultural reform that we see by far the greatest addition to global welfare. For many developing countries, globalization without agricultural reform in the US and EU is unfair. These recent announcements by the US and the EU on agriculture are therefore very helpful to the progress of Doha. We must now begin to build up momentum on negotiations before trade ministers meet again in Cancun next September."
Asked about the importance of TPA to the USSFTA negotiations, Min Yeo said it would make it easier for both sides to conclude negotiations later this year.
MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY
29 JUL 2002