Excerpt from Robert B. Zoellick's Statement at Joint Press Conference with Ann M. Veneman, US Secretary of Agriculture

September 9, 2003

Cancun, Mexico

...We also had some important follow-up work from Doha that was particularly of concern to the countries that were poorest and most worried about the effects of disease on their economy. That was the issue of access to medicines and whether the flexibilities in the intellectual property rules could adapt to their needs. I'm very pleased -- and here I want to particularly single out the work of Ambassador Linnet Deily, our ambassador in Geneva -- for leading an effort, but also the cooperation of 145 economies, to allow us to come into Cancun with a very important result. Particularly for our African partners. Because the result we reached was not only an agreement, or putting words on paper, but it was a demonstration that the intellectual property rules could be flexible enough to serve humanitarian needs. And that's a very important message for the WTO. Of course, it requires a balance, because the companies that produce the life-saving drugs of tomorrow are the ones being asked to help deal with the crises today.

I'm very pleased we were able to strike that balance. I said to my Ministerial colleagues, in various mini-ministerials that some of you attended, that we would do our best to resolve it; and with the help of many, we did. So it was a promise made and a promise kept.

Now the U.S position, both at Doha and at Cancun, is a relatively straightforward position. First, we favor ambitious results. We're not just in this for a paper agreement. We want to open markets because the process is key to both growth and development. The second, we're committed to an aggressive schedule. The Uruguay Round took some eight years. We believe this can be done in the three or so years we set.

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