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PRESS RELEASE: PRESS/TPRB/226
16 January 2004

TRADE POLICY REVIEW: UNITED STATES

A largely open economy but barriers persist in important areas

The United States has overcome several shocks since its last Trade Policy Review in 2001, helped by the contribution of its open and transparent trade regime to the highly efficient U.S. economy, according to a report on the trade policies and practices of the United States released 16 January by the WTO Secretariat.

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Recent U.S. macroeconomic policy has been directed, increasingly successfully, towards recovering and sustaining growth, with benefits to the global economy, including through trade transmission. But barriers to market access persist in a few, however important, areas: in particular, assistance to selected activities such as agriculture, steel, and textiles and clothing has burdened U.S. consumers, taxpayers and trade.

The report notes that during this period, the United States has taken further steps to liberalize its trade regime on MFN (Most Favoured Nation) as well as preferential bases. While acknowledging that the expanding U.S. preferential network could help draw partners into the multilateral system, the report emphasizes that care should be taken to avoid distracting resources away from it and that vested interests are not created that complicate multilateral negotiations. The report also discusses the new security considerations in the aftermath of the September 2001 attacks, and stresses that the new U.S. security-related policies and practices should not become unnecessary trade or investment barriers.

The report also expresses some concern about the “twin deficits” and goes on to note that the presently perceived large bilateral trade imbalances that are now part of the U.S. current account situation could give rise to protectionist sentiment.

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  SEE ALSO 

 
> Full list of previous TPRs

> Programme of reviews for 2004 (MS Word format)

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  The WTO report, along with a policy statement by the Government of the United States, will be the basis for the seventh Trade Policy Review (TPR) of the United States by the Trade Policy Review Body of the WTO on 14 and 16 January 2004.


The following documents are available in MS Word format.

  

Note  back to top

Trade Policy Reviews are an exercise, mandated in the WTO agreements, in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined and evaluated at regular intervals. Significant developments that may have an impact on the global trading system are also monitored. For each review, two documents are prepared: a policy statement by the government of the member under review, and a detailed report written independently by the WTO Secretariat. These two documents are then discussed by the WTO’s full membership in the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB). These documents and the proceedings of the TPRB’s meetings are published shortly afterwards.

Print copies of previous TPR publications are available for sale from the WTO Secretariat, Centre William Rappard, 154 rue de Lausanne, 1211 Genève 21 and through the on-line bookshop.

The TPR publications are also available from our co-publisher Bernan Press, 4611-F Assembly Drive, Lanham, MD 20706-4391, United States.

 

Schedule of forthcoming reviews  back to top

Gambia: 4 and 6 of February 2004
Sri Lanka: 3 and 5 of March 2004
Rwanda: 10 and 12 May 2004