WASHINGTON -- April 21 -- As Congress ponders the confirmation of Representative Robert Portman to the post of United States Trade Representative (USTR,) Gawain Kripke, spokesperson for Oxfam's Make Trade Fair Campaign in Washington, offered the following comments:
"Oxfam looks forward to working closely with Mr. Portman, President Bush's nominee as the USTR, to get international trade negotiations back on track and to ensure that the agreements of the Doha Round are truly reflective of the goals of eliminating poverty.
This year is critical for the Doha Development Round and time is running out. The ball is squarely in the US court; the credibility of the US and international trade negotiations lies in the USTR's hands.
An agreement by both US and the EU to stop the dumping of excess agricultural commodities is crucial for a successful end to this round of trade talks. In particular, the US needs to act quickly to reform its cotton subsidy regime, which threatens the livelihood of farmers in developing countries and has been deemed against international commitments by the WTO. Mr. Portman must gain the trust of developing countries by the Hong Kong WTO Ministerial and show that the US will play by the rules by eliminating trade-distorting subsidies.
In bilateral and regional trade agreements, the USTR has bullied our trading partners and forced developing countries to make harsh concessions may undermine development an increase poverty. A new USTR can make a fresh start to infuse a pro-poor, pro-development perspective in new trade agreements. Oxfam looks forward to working with Mr. Portman to orient our trade policy toward eradicating global poverty."
For more information, please call Laura Rusu, 202-496-3620 or 202-459-3739
Oxfam America is dedicated to finding long-term solutions to poverty, hunger and social injustice around the world. More information at http://www.oxfamamerica.org or 800-77-OXFAM.