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Bush Preparing to Sign U.S.-Bahrain FTA


Bush Preparing to Sign U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement

Says pact will strengthen bilateral ties, promote regional trade

President Bush has notified Congress of his plans to sign the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement within three months.

In a June 15 message to legislators, Bush said the pact would strengthen bilateral ties with a close ally and advance the goal of establishing a U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) by 2013. U.S. and Bahrain officials announced completion of the trade negotiations on May 27. Bahrain is the third Arab country, following Jordan and Morocco, to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

U.S. law requires the president to give at least 90 days notice to Congress before signing a trade pact. Congress must approve legislation implementing the U.S.-Bahrain agreement before the pact can go into effect.

Following is the text of the president's message to Congress:

(begin text)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
June 15, 2004

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

Consistent with section 2105(a)(1)(A) of the Trade Act of 2002, (Public Law 107-210; the "Trade Act"), I am pleased to notify the Congress of my intent to enter into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Government of Bahrain.

This agreement will create new opportunities for America's workers, farmers, businesses, and consumers by eliminating barriers in trade with Bahrain. Entering into an FTA with Bahrain will not only strengthen our bilateral ties with this important ally, it will also advance my goal of a U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) by 2013.

Consistent with the Trade Act, I am sending this notification at least 90 days in advance of signing the United States-Bahrain FTA. My Administration looks forward to working with the Congress in developing appropriate legislation to approve and implement this free trade agreement.

GEORGE W. BUSH

THE WHITE HOUSE, June 15, 2004.


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