U.S. Will Press Trade Goals at WTO, Zoellick Says
Dougherty, Carter, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Byline: Carter Dougherty
U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick pledged yesterday that the Bush administration will pursue its goal of a new round of trade negotiations with renewed vigor, despite widespread speculation that the new anti-terrorism offensive would crowd out other international initiatives.
Mr. Zoellick said the United States still hopes to persuade other countries to kick off new talks at a meeting of the World Trade Organization in the Persian Gulf emirate of Qatar in early November. He argued that free-trade policies complement, rather than complicate, U.S. diplomacy in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington.
"In addition to military actions, we must thrust forward the values that define us against our adversary: openness, peaceful exchange, democracy, the rule of law, compassion and tolerance," Mr. Zoellick said in a speech to the Institute for International Economics in Washington.
In a sign that the fight against terrorism will be economic, as well as military, the Senate approved a long-delayed free-trade agreement with Jordan, a close ally in the new fight against terrorism.
Mr. Zoellick, objecting to rules on labor and environmental standards that the Clinton administration inserted into the pact, held up approval for months. Even after he altered the agreement slightly, Sen. Phil Gramm, Texas Republican, continued to stall a Senate vote, relenting only in the face of pressure from both sides of the aisle to approve the first free-trade deal with an Arab nation.
The pact "serves as a statement that our enemy is terrorism, not the Muslim world," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat.
President Bush will meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Washington on Friday.
Preparations for the Nov. 9-13 meeting in Qatar have been in full swing since the summer. WTO members hope to pick up the pieces after a disastrous 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle. …