WASHINGTON, June 18 A broad swathe of U.S.
businesses urged World Trade Organization countries to make the
concessions needed to clinch a new global trade pact, but
cautioned that a bad deal was worse than no deal at all.
"Without a major breakthrough in the coming weeks, we fear
that this opportunity to liberalize trade will be lost for some
considerable time," the industry groups and companies told WTO
Director-General Pascal Lamy in a letter.
But the letter also voiced dissatisfaction with the current
proposals to liberalize agriculture and industrial trade, along
with services like telecoms or banking, in the WTO's Doha round
The businesses, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), the
food giant Cargill Inc, IBM Corp (IBM.N) and the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, said even deeper liberalization was needed to boost
trade and secure the support of U.S. business.
"We encourage greater efforts to bring the round to a close
based on ambition, and want to reinforce the recent statement
of the U.S. Trade Representative, when she said, 'There is an
urgency in terms of time, but content is more important than the
calendar,'" they wrote on Wednesday.
They said major cuts for agriculture and industrial tariffs
are needed, especially for major emerging market countries,
also noting that "progress in the services negotiations is
The letter comes as negotiators in Geneva strive to build
enough consensus in the talks, which have been only plodding
along since 2001, to bring together trade ministers for a
breakthrough meeting some time this summer.
The Bush administration is keen to strike an agreement on
the outlines of a deal in the coming weeks, in order to give
trade officials enough time to conclude an agreement before
President George W. Bush leaves office in January.
But the same issues have remained contentious from the
start: trade-offs on agriculture subsidies and tariffs for rich
and poor nations, tariffs for industrial trade, and other