Unilever chairman calls for fresh EU push on Doha trade round

Niall FitzGerald, Chairman of Unilever, today urged the EU to respond quickly and positively to the recent US initiative on the WTO Doha development round.

Speaking on US/EU relations at a conference organised by Gordon Brown, Advancing Enterprise: Britain in a Global Economy, Mr FitzGerald welcomed the recent letter to WTO members from US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick. 

He urged the US and EU to work urgently to dismantle their systems of agricultural protection and subsidy which he described as:  'illiterate economics and morally unacceptable'.  Mr FitzGerald has also written to Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, urging the UK to take a lead in the EU on this issue.

Speaking for the first time in the UK his capacity as co-chair of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue - a business-led organisation to promote improved transatlantic relations - Mr FitzGerald also welcomed the UK-US initiative to explore the economic benefits of freer transatlantic trade launched by Gordon Brown and US Treasury secretary John Snow.

Mr FitzGerald warned the conference that governments and regulators on both sides of the Atlantic had to work together to avoid unnecessary compliance costs and said that the TABD would review the most forward-looking approaches to regulatory co-ordination.  Helping to achieve the highest standards of corporate governance would also be a priority for the TABD, he said, as would the urgent need to seek convergence in the area of accountancy standards. 

Mr FitzGerald pledged that the TABD would be a vigilant and vocal champion of business interests in its attempts to help create a barrier-free transatlantic market.

Full Text of Speech

Niall FitzGerald is co-Chairman of the TABD with Douglas N Daft Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company.

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