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US Import Tariff Removal Plans Receive Mixed WTO Reception

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

04 December 2002


The US government's proposals for all members to remove import tariffs on consumer and industrial goods by 2015 met with a mixed reception at Monday's World Trade Organisation meeting.

Presenting the plans to the 144-member body, US Ambassador, Linnet Deily described them as 'both bold and fair', explaining that: 'We're putting our own sensitive areas - textiles, apparel, footwear, glassware - on the table in an unprecedented manner.'

She also suggested that under the terms of the two-phase plan, developing countries would find themselves better able to sell their products in developed countries, and would benefit from exporting more to one another.:

'Tariff-free trade for $6 trillion in world goods will open a world of opportunities for everyone,' Ms Deily argued.

According to an Associated Press report on the meeting, Indian Ambassador, K.M. Chandrasekhar slammed the US plan as 'clearly unfair' to developing countries, reasoning that: 'Tariffs are a vital source of government resources.'

The proposals were, however, welcomed by New Zealand's Ambassador, Tim Groser, and Uruguay's Trade Ambassador, Carlos Perez del Castillo, according to AP.

Under the terms of the US proposals, tariffs of 5% or less on non-agricultural goods would be eliminated between 2005 and 2010, and higher tariffs would be lowered to at least 8%. In the second phase of reduction, the 8% tariffs would be lowered each year from 2010 until they reach zero in 2015.


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