WASHINGTON, DC –  The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States expressed disappointment today over the suspension of the Doha round of WTO trade negotiations in Geneva, but said it supported the United States’ decision to halt the talks in order to defend U.S. trade interests.

“The U.S. distilled spirits industry fully supports the Administration’s decision to suspend the Doha negotiations,” said Deborah Lamb, Distilled Spirits Council senior vice president for international trade.  “It was becoming increasingly clear that these negotiations would not result in the robust expanded market access outcome we had hoped to achieve with the Doha round.”

Lamb continued, “The Council remains confident in the WTO system and hopes all countries return to the table in the near future ready to negotiate.”

Lamb said a global trade agreement will benefit the distilled spirits industry by reducing trade barriers and opening key markets for U.S. spirits exports.  In 2005, total global exports of U.S. spirits products were valued at over $ 742 million.

In light of the delay in Geneva, the Council will work hard to promote the reauthorization of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation beyond 2007 to allow U.S. negotiators to pursue an ambitious trade agenda.  TPA, which allows Congress to consider trade agreements on a straight “up-or-down” vote, is an important legislative tool in knocking down discriminatory trade barriers against distilled spirits exports.