More Rules, No Relief

At the moment, U.S. manufacturers can't count on beneficial rule changes to emerge from the current set of global trade negotiations. Launched at a meeting of world trade ministers in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001, and nominally slated for completion by Jan. 1, 2005, the Doha Round so far has featured far more talk than serious bargaining. "At this stage, there is a great deal of pessimism about how much will be accomplished in the Doha negotiations," states Ernest H. Preeg, senior fellow in trade and productivity at the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, an Arlington, Va.-based business and publicpolicy group. For example, still undefined is how foreign tariffs on U.S. manufactured goods will be reduced. Last November, the U.S. proposed that members of the WTO eliminate all tariffs on consumer and industrial goods by 2015. "But others have not responded favorably up to this point," notes Preeg.

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