LONDON, March 10, 2006 - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, along with U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, began meetings today with G-6 countries in London to advance the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Agenda. Following the G-6 meetings, Johanns will continue on to Warsaw and Berlin for bilateral meetings March 12-14.
"We remain committed to a successful conclusion to the Doha Round, but we will not settle for an agreement without significant progress in market access," said Johanns. "Our commitment remains strong as we urge fellow WTO members to match the ambition of the U.S. offer. That's why I also will travel to Poland and Germany, countries that have large agricultural sectors and are key members of the European Union."
G-6 members include Australia, Brazil, the European Union, Japan, India and the United States. While in London, Johanns met today with Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Shoichi Nakagawa to discuss reopening the Japanese market for U.S. beef.
"Minister Nakagawa and I met for about one hour and had a good, candid discussion about our investigation into the ineligible shipment of U.S. beef to Japan, USDA's commitment to answer the questions being asked by the Japanese government and the mood within both of our countries regarding trade," said Johanns. "I indicated that we received their questions and we are in the process of completing the responses, which we anticipate submitting to Japan next week."
Following the G-6 conference, Johanns will travel to Warsaw March 12-13. Poland is an important ally of the U.S. and has the largest agricultural economy of the 10 newly acceded EU members. In Warsaw, Johanns will meet with Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Krzysztof Jurgiel, Minister of Environment Jan Szyszko, with Ministry of Economy officials, and private and university agricultural representatives and members of the Polish Parliament.
In travel to Berlin on March 13-14, Johanns will meet with Minister of Economics and Labor Michael Glos, who is Germany's lead negotiator for the Doha negotiations. Germany has a diverse agricultural industry and is the United States' largest agricultural trading partner in the EU. For further discussions on international trade, Johanns will also meet with Minister of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Protection Horst Seehofer, Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who is chief of staff for Chancellor Merkel, members of the German parliament, German business leaders and other government officials.
Ed Loyd (202)720-4623
Release No. 0078.06
FAS PR 0031-06