WTO – Hong Kong & Gone

Chuck Zimmerman

USTR Robert Portman - Courtesy of WTOWell what do you think? Did our USTR, Robert Portman and his team do a good job? There’s an agreed upon declaration which is more progress than I think most thought would happen. You can see what the WTO website calls the “draft ministerial text.” I don’t know if it’s the final approved one or not.

Hong Kong’s Commerce, Industry and Technology Secretary John Tsang, who chaired the conference, outlined the achievements in the declaration:

We have secured an end date for all export subsidies in agriculture, even if it is not in a form to everybody’s liking.
We have an agreement on cotton.
We have a very solid duty-free, quota-free access for the 32 least-developed country members.
In agriculture and NAMA (non-agricultural market access), we have fleshed out a significant framework for full modalities.
And in services, we now have an agreed text that points positively to the way forward.”

Tsang is obviously a John Lennon and Paul McCartney fan since he’s quoted as saying, ““It’s been a hard day’s night. And I’ve been working like a dog.”

Interestingly the negotiators must have favored coffee over Red Bull since “in the last night alone, negotiators consumed 350 cups of coffee. During the week, 450 meetings were organized, six major gatherings and over 200 consultations by facilitators.”