Measures aimed at eliminating all tariffs on manufactured goods among World Trade Organisation members by 2015 are to be outlined by US trade representative Robert Zoellick and commerce secretary Donald Evans today according to reports in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal.

Even though the proposal reflects the interests of a large part of the US manufacturing sector, which wants to beat down high tariffs in other parts of the world, it is sure to face serious opposition from textile and footwear makers.

The US plan calls for all duties on manufactured goods worldwide to be cut to eight per cent by 2010, and then reduced to zero over the next five years. Duties on goods that now are set at five per cent or less would be reduced to zero by 2010.

However, the idea is also likely to meet with resistance from developing countries such as India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Brazil. They typically rely on high tariffs on such goods to protect their economy from foreign competition. For other smaller countries, tariffs provide the largest share of government revenues. 

The sweeping proposal is being championed by the Bush administration as part of the ongoing Doha round of WTO trade talks. But to become reality it would have to be voted in by the WTO's 144 member states.