NEW YORK - U.S. Trade
Representative Robert Zoellick this week warned the European Union that
its desire to link international environmental agreements to the rules
for free trade threatened progress in world trade negotiations.
"If Europe keeps pushing things in the environmental area that look
threatening to the developing world we're not going to be able to move
forward on this thing," Zoellick told the Council on Foreign Relations.
His comments came during a joint question-and-answer session with EU
Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy.
Lamy told the foreign policy audience that the EU was pushing for
language to clarify how multilateral environmental agreements interact
with World Trade Organization rules.
"We Europeans feel these two things should be on the same footing," Lamy
said. "If it were only a European view I would say environment should
trump trade rules, but since we live on the same planet I would say they
have to be on the same footing."
Developing countries are generally wary of any attempt by rich countries
to insert environmental issues into trade agreements. They fear the
measures could be used by the developed countries as an excuse to block
Despite Zoellick's concern about the EU position, the Bush
administration also faces some pressure at home to include both labor
and environmental concerns in trade agreements.
Meanwhile, Zoellick said the United States would present "an aggressive
proposal" later this year for reducing trade barriers for
Many developing countries that want increased access to the U.S. textile
market are keenly waiting to see what the United States will propose in
WTO members launched a new round of world trade talks a year ago this
month in Doha, Qatar, with the goal of finishing by January 2005.
After their remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations, Lamy and
Zoellick met privately to discuss progress in the round and a long list
of bilateral trade disputes.
Lamy will visit Chicago yesterday and Friday for the annual meeting of
the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialouge.
The group is comprised of leading businesses from both Europe and the
Story Date: 8/11/2002