Cancun, Mexico, September 14, 2003: Zoellick:
The UN General Assembly has its role. My lesson is, it's not
an effective mindset or model for trade negotiations. Demands
and tough rhetoric are easy; negotiations require commitment
and hard work. And some countries will now need to decide
whether they want to make a point or whether they want to
We have been seeking to suggest that some larger developing
countries have a responsibility here, too. In my opinion,
some spent too much time with tactics of inflexibility and
inflammatory rhetoric before getting down to negotiate. Unfortunately
-- and this was the real shame -- many smaller developing
countries that followed this lead couldn't make the turn that
some of the other, bigger developing countries were ready
to negotiate. And as a result, all walked away empty handed.
The U.S. trade strategy, however, includes advances on multiple
fronts. We have free trade agreements with six countries right
now. And we're negotiating free trade agreements with 14 more.
All our free trade agreement partners, some quietly, some
more actively, tried to help over the course of the past couple
of days. The results are very revealing to me, that over the
past few days, a number of other developing countries, that
are committed to opening markets and economic reforms, expressed
their interest in negotiating free trade agreements with the
I'll be pleased to take your questions.
Neil King, Wall Street Journal. Q: Ambassador Zoellick,
I'm curious to know what your assessment is on how damaged
the Doha Round is now and what your prediction is as to whether
it could possibly live up to its timetable?
ZOELLICK: It's hard for me to believe that, in the position
we are now, that we will be able to finish on time. And I
was straight with my colleagues and I was straight over the
course of the process.
Doug Palmer, Reuters News Service. Q: The fate of the
Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiation has been closely
tight to the WTO, particularly the issue of agriculture. Given
the setback here, your pessimism about completing the Doha
Development Round by 2005, do you think that is still an achievable
target date for concluding the FTAA?
ZOELLICK: Yes, and the effects here could cut a number of
ways. As we left the Green Room, actually, Minister Amorim
(Brazil) and I, who have been working together on a lot of
the agricultural issues -- we actually have a lot in common
on agriculture -- said, well, we talked a little bit about
the ALCA -- the Free Trade Area of the Americas -- in our
bilateral meeting, and I said, "Well, we'll follow up
with you on that." You know, many countries in Latin
America chose different strategies here. However they chose
or whatever they worked, they missed the opportunity to cut
our subsidies. They were there to be cut if they wanted to
cut. They didn't do it. And frankly, we are now offering another
opportunity to create something significant across the Americas.
The hand is there. It is up to them to see that...I will say
that, there are a lot of countries in Latin America that if
that one does not move forward, they are quite eager in moving
Jutta Hettig, Inside U.S. Trade, Q: How will China's
membership in the G-21 affect our bilateral trade relationship
with the giant with whom the United States has an enormous
ZOELLICK: Our basic policy toward China has been that we
know they have made a lot of difficult changes as part of
their trade and their economic reform process. This is not
an easy implementation process. At the same time, you are
correct: we have a 100 billion dollar deficit. We want to
keep our markets open to China, but I have emphasized the
key way to help us to do that is for China to follow through
on its obligations and help open markets. Frankly, I saw nothing
here that undermined my belief that that is what the Chinese
are trying to do. The one issue that (China) emphasized was
some special treatment for recently acceded members. But frankly,
it was a point they made, it was not something that was done
in any particularly strident fashion. So Minister Lu was a
good partner here. I am sure we will have our challenges on
other issues in the days ahead.
Bruce Stokes, National Journal. Q: Ambassador Zoellick,
at the end of Seattle, Pascal Lamy and Charlene Barshefsky
turned to Mike Moore, who was then the director-general of
the WTO and said, "You have to fix this organization.
It doesn't work." Implicitly, you have also criticized
the way in which things are decided here or move forward here,
but you haven't gone so far as to say that we need to go back
to Geneva and make the WTO work better. You have said, "We
will solve trade liberalization through bilateralism and regionalism
if we need to." Are you saying that you don't think it
is a U.S. responsibility to try to make the WTO work better?
ZOELLICK: No, Bruce, and I think the United States has tried
very hard to make the organization work. Here is the reality
we confront. It is an organization that works by consensus.
I don't think that is going to change, and so I don't think
it would be very fruitful to try to spend time trying to move
to voting patterns or others.
The question always is: you have to compromise. How are you
going to move something forward? We never really knew for
sure because we never got to this final stage about what people
could live with. I've explained to people the basics: We can
cut subsidies if I get the EU to cut subsidies closer and
if we open markets. We'll open markets more than others will
open markets, but we have got to get markets open. Which,
by the way, will help the developing world as well with their
So that's the formula. It's on the table. People will have
to decide whether they want to engage in it. As I said, we'll
always be there to engage in it -- but I'm also not waiting
forever. We're going to move elsewhere.