Engler Sees Reason For Trade-Talk Optimism

Says focus needs to shift away from agriculture.

After meeting with U.S. and European trade negotiators last week, National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler came away optimistic that an end to the stalemate surrounding World Trade Organization Doha talks could be reached.

Engler said that while both sides are willing to compromise, the focus on agriculture remains a stumbling block.

“What is needed is for the United States and the European Union to broaden the focus and get other countries to be more forthcoming on what they would be willing to do in industrial trade and services,” Engler said. “The United States and the EU should stop accepting the developing country view that agriculture has to be settled before we can even talk about manufactured goods and services.”

The NAM will send its own delegation to Brussels this week for meetings with its EU counterpart, the Confederation of European Business (UNICE) and with European Commission officials. The NAM delegation will emphasize its strong interest in moving ahead with an “ambitious” Doha Round agenda.

“This is supposed to be a broad and balanced round, so it is time for the U.S. and the EU to join arms and tell others that they have a role in breaking the deadlock as well,” Engler said. “If we could all see that there truly is the prospect of gains all around – for all countries – then I think we would all be closer to being able to return to the table.”