New York, N.Y., January 17, 2007 – Major business groups from countries representing 60 percent of world trade called for the swift completion of the Doha Round negotiations in the World Trade Organization, saying “the costs of failure are diverse and grave.”
The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) joined 18 other leading business organizations, from both industrialized and developing nations, in a global appeal for the immediate re-start of the Doha Round, which has reached a critical impasse largely over agricultural trade. They called for the swift conclusion to the talks based on more flexible offers by all parties and the goal of an ambitious, market-opening outcome.
“While the benefits for an ambitious conclusion of the Round are great, the costs of failure are diverse and grave,” the statement said. “Notwithstanding the loss of potential welfare gains, a failed Round could lead to challenges to the World Trade Organization and a strong multilateral rules-based trade system; increased regionalism and protectionism; shocks in financial markets and the loss of an opportunity to catalyze domestic economic reform.”
The business organizations called for a substantial reduction or elimination of tariffs and an effective approach to non- tariff barriers. In agriculture, they said they sought commercially meaningful new market access, the reduction of and eventual elimination of trade-distorting mechanisms and subsidies, including export subsidies and disciplines on export measures in all countries in a coherent and progressive manner. In services, WTO members need to improve multilateral commitments to tackle non-tariff barriers and provide new market access, the groups said.
“It is quite likely the Round will fail if significant progress is not made in the next two to three months, said Peter M. Robinson, USCIB’s president. “Business strongly urges governments to show the political leadership to reject failure, and seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to raise living standards around the world.”
An ambitious result in the Doha Round is a top priority of USCIB. Mr. Robinson said USCIB would continue to use itsglobal network of business affiliates and connections to garner broader industrial business support for an immediate completion of the Doha Round, working especially with the International Chamber of Commerce, the world business organization.
USCIB promotes an open system of global commerce in which business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare and protection of the environment. Its membership includes some 300 U.S. companies, professional service firms and associations whose combined annual revenues exceed $3 trillion. As American affiliate of the leading international business and employers organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade. More information is available at www.uscib.org.