June 29, 2007


US offers Canberra a trade fallback: AUSTRALIA could be invited to join the North American Free Trade Agreement as part of a strategy among Asia-Pacific nations to deal with the collapse of world trade talk (Geoff Elliott and Sid Marris, June 29, 2007, The Australian)

In an exclusive interview before her trip to Cairns for next week's meeting of APEC trade ministers, US trade representative Susan Schwab said alternatives to the so-called Doha round of global trade talks were being considered, with the US focusing on the Asia-Pacific region.

"You look at what's going on in the Asia-Pacific - there's so much promise, it's so exciting, and so how do you make sure you sustain that and how do you make sure it grows rather than turning in on itself," Ms Schwab told The Australian.

"I think you will see a real acceleration of bilateral and regional deals including something like a free trade agreement of the Asia-Pacific if the Doha round really disappears from the scene.

"One of the big questions with the proliferation of bilateral and regional agreements is this: is there an inclination - and if so what would it take - to knit together multiple free trade agreements? Because all of us have multiple free trade agreements. That is another issue - we would talk about it."

Asked whether that could mean including Australia in the NAFTA - the regional agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada struck under the Clinton administration - she said: "Exactly."

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 29, 2007 4:39 PM

Good idea. But Bush has no political capital anymore and the Dems will object and run the clock out on any deal until after Bush is out of office.

Posted by: AWW at June 29, 2007 9:08 PM