Statement by Ambassador Froman on U.S.-India WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman released the following statement welcoming an agreement between the United States and India on elements aimed at unlocking progress at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The agreement announced today between the United States and India paves the way for full implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the first multilateral trade agreement to be concluded in the history of the WTO.  The agreement also reflects shared understandings regarding the WTO’s work on food security.

“A year ago at the WTO Ministerial Conference held in Bali, all WTO Members, including the United States and India, celebrated the achievement of the TFA and a broader package of measures addressing concerns of all WTO Members.  Efforts to put the TFA in place were dealt a setback in July, when a small group of countries, led by India, raised concerns about the status of the WTO’s work on food security issues and blocked consensus on implementing the TFA.  We have overcome that delay and now have agreement with India to move forward with full implementation.”

“With the WTO confronting a mounting crisis of confidence, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi held productive discussions on this issue, including during the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington in September.  In recent days, officials of both governments worked intensively and reached an agreement that should give new momentum to multilateral efforts at the WTO.  In doing so, the United States and India reaffirm their joint commitment to the success and credibility of the WTO.”

“On the basis of this breakthrough with India, we now look forward to working with all WTO Members and with Director-General Roberto Azevedo to reach a consensus that enables full implementation of all elements of the landmark Bali Package, including the Trade Facilitation Agreement.”

“This has been a good week for trade and the growth and jobs it supports here in the United States.  The U.S. worked with China to achieve a breakthrough on the Information Technology Agreement, worked with India to move forward with the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, and worked with our TPP partners to bring the end of these landmark negotiations clearly into sight.  Together, these will provide a major boost to the global trading system at a critical time in the world’s economic recovery, a central focus of the upcoming G-20 Summit.”