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Congress Gives Bush Authority For Free Trade Deals

2 August 2002 www.tln.org.nz

Congress Gives Bush Authority For Free Trade Deals

With the passage of Trade Promotion Authority through the US Senate, President Bush has an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to freer trade internationally.

Trade Liberalisation Network Chairman Brian Lynch said the Senate vote was “excellent news”. “The US is the indispensable nation when it comes to trade. After disappointments with steel tariffs and the Farm Bill, the President now has a much freer hand to negotiate in the World Trade Organisation and with individual trading partners”.

It is the first time since 1994 that the President has had such authority. “This means the US can get back into the business of trade liberalisation. The Congressional action will send a powerful signal to US trading partners, including the EU and Japan, that there is a new willingness to contemplate reducing trade barriers and creating more effective trade rules”.

Mr Lynch said the development was also of direct interest to New Zealand which is keen to negotiate a free trade agreement with the US. “The President now has the power to negotiate he lacked previously. We hope the Administration will now move quickly to initiate a negotiation with Australia and New Zealand”.

Mr Lynch said that the Trade Liberalisation Network was working closely with the New Zealand/US Council and the Government to make the case for a New Zealand/US Closer Economic Partnership in Washington.

Ends

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