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Australia one step closer to FTA with US

Australia one step closer to FTA with US

Trade Minister Mark Vaile said passage of the Trade Promotion Authority Bill (TPA) through the US House of Representatives this afternoon marks another major step forward for global trade negotiations as well as for a potential Australia-US Free Trade Agreement.

This news followed last night’s agreement between US Senate and House of Representatives conference negotiators on the Bill.

President Bush has been pushing for TPA from Congress because it allows him to make trade deals that Congress cannot change but only ratify or reject.

Passage of the TPA through the US House is long-awaited good news for global trade talks and good news for a potential US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, Mr Vaile said.

It will allow President Bush and his team to show the sort of leadership in international trade negotiations Australia has been hoping for which could deliver real benefits for our businesses and farmers.

This has been a big week for trade reformers in the United States with Thursday’s ambitious proposals by the US Administration for global agricultural trade reform in the World Trade Organisation.

Passage of this legislation provides the Administration with the capacity to negotiate bilateral free trade agreements, including with Australia. An FTA could boost Australia’s GDP by as much as $4b a year and deliver more and better jobs for Australians.

Mr Vaile stressed the US Senate is still to pass TPA, hopefully next week. The legislation requires the Administration to notify Congress of an intention to negotiate a trade deal with a particular country before negoiations can begin.

We are still analysing the detail of the TPA legislation to understand whether any provisions may adversely affect Australia’s interests, Mr Vaile said.

Tuesday, 27 July 2002

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