NAM Forms 'Zero-Tariff' Working Group

By John S. McClenahen Claiming that dramatic reductions in tariffs on manufactured goods would give global economic growth a major boost, the National Assn. of Manufacturers (NAM), Washington, is assembling an action-oriented task force. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Industrial Tariff Working Group will advocate a "zero-for-zero" strategy under which countries that account for the majority of trade in particular sectors of manufacturing would agree to eliminate tariffs on those goods. The group's immediate goal is to get several countries to agree to adopt the "zero-for-zero" principle during next month's meetings of the WTO in Doha, Qatar. The WTO is widely expected to approve a new round of global trade negotiations at the meeting of trade ministers from more than 150 countries. "We want to see the first round of zero-for-zero agreements concluded within one year of the [WTO meeting] and then implemented immediately on a provisional basis," says Maureen Smith, international vice president of the Washington-based American Forest & Paper Assn. and chair of the NAM working group. There's already "broad support" for zero-for -zero agreements among medical equipment and toy manufacturers in several countries, she reports.

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