MEMPHIS - As the Geneva talks progressed, it became clear that some World Trade Organization (WTO) members were not willing to open their markets and even tabled proposals that would impose greater restrictions on market access than exist today. Ambassador Susan Schwab, USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber, and USDA Undersecretary Mark Keenum insisted on a balance between disciplines on agricultural support and gains in market access, and the direction of the negotiations failed to provide that balance.
We applaud Ambassador Schwab for refusing to settle for a bad agreement. We are encouraged that the United States held firm to its commitment to U.S. agriculture.
We also believe that U.S. negotiators were justified in their criticism of China and India for those countries’ insistence on allowances to raise agricultural tariffs above current levels.
The result of the WTO ministerial in Geneva underscores the difficulty of reaching a positive Doha outcome that increases trade flows while using the current negotiating text. Ambassador Schwab understands that Doha contributes to the economic growth of developing countries only if the agreement will increase trade flows. Schwab and Glauber are to be commended for not losing sight of the overriding goal of increased market access during the intense negotiations in Geneva.