Original Press Release
NAM Says Sectoral Agreements Are Key To DOHA
Press release date: July 11, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 11, 2008. In response to this week's release by the World Trade Organization (WTO) of new Doha Round negotiating language for Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) negotiations covering manufactured goods trade, National Association of Manufacturers President and Chief Executive Officer John Engler issued the following statement:
The latest revision shows little change, and reflects the deep divides that still remain. While we are cautiously optimistic about the expanded language on sectoral tariff liberalization agreements, we remain disappointed in the unchanged developing country formula and flexibility provisions contained in this draft. This, however, is not the fault of NAMA Chairman Don Stephenson, who has done yeoman's work in trying to bridge the differences. His term as Canada's Ambassador to the WTO ends in August, and we hope that his determined efforts will finally bear fruit at the July 21st WTO Ministerial in Geneva.
Manufactured goods are 60 percent of world trade, services 20 percent, and agriculture only 7 percent (oil and raw materials are the rest). There cannot be a Doha Round without substantial trade liberalization in manufacturing and services, and the new text continues to make that liberalization difficult -- but not impossible.
Tariff model simulations make it quite plain that the tariff cutting formulas in the present text will not generate sufficient new market access. The key to whether the Doha Round succeeds in truth lies in sectoral trade agreements that would seek to eliminate tariffs in key sectors. Willingness on the part of major advanced developing countries such as Brazil, China, and India to participate in sectoral agreements will be the litmus test for whether the upcoming WTO Ministerial can produce an agreement on "negotiating modalities" that can really work.
Sectoral agreements, coupled with a tariff-cutting formula, the avoidance of exempting entire industries from trade liberalization, and agreement on significant reduction of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) could generate the needed trade liberalization that would benefit all nations - especially the least-developed ones.
The question is whether enough countries truly want trade liberalization. We may finally get the answer to that question at the upcoming Ministerial meeting. The NAM's Vice President for International Economic Affairs, Frank Vargo, will be in Geneva at the time of the ministerial to advance American manufacturers' desire for a successful outcome that could lead to leveling the global playing field.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's award-winning web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.
CONTACT: HANK COX (202) 637-3090