The U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Michael Punke, has told the WTO Trade Negotiation Committee that clearly the negotiations are not advancing at this point as we have all hoped and the gaps among Members remain wide. There is an urgent need for a better understanding of those gaps.
Punke laid out for members the perspective of the United States on key areas where gaps are visible. The Ambassador notes the gap analysis is not confined to a single market access pillar, nor to a single sector. The gaps are as significant with respect to agriculture and services as they are in NAMA.
According to Punke, in agriculture, we give credit to key partners for being transparent with us as to how they plan to employ their flexibilities. Unfortunately, what we learned confirmed our worst fears, that we would see no new market access on our major agricultural export interests. This represents a major gap. Can these gaps be bridged? Punke says he doesn't have the answer to that question.