Newly confirmed U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman is in Paris this week attending meetings of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. One of his announced goals is to help get the Doha Round of international trade negotiations moving again. The talks were to have been completed by the beginning of this year. Before he left Washington, D.C., for Paris, Portman said, "Completing an ambitious Doha Round in 2006 offers the world the best way to promote economic prosperity, development and opportunity for all our peoples."
The U.S. has proposed that tariffs on all consumer and industrial goods be eliminated by 2015 and has called for elimination of agricultural subsidies and tariffs. It's generally believed, however, progress on goods and services trade will be made in the Doha Round until there's major progress on agricultural tariffs and market access. And so far that's not happened.
Portman is a former Republican Congressman from Ohio. He succeeded Robert B. Zoellick in the trade post. Zoellick is now deputy secretary of State.