FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS TOP BUSH ADMINISTRATION TRADE AGENDA
The Bush administration will step up its efforts to increase bilateral trade agreements with other countries and trading blocs in order to improve its position in future worldwide trade negotiations.
“The world is passing us by in the free trade agreement area,” said Jeffrey A. Bader, assistant to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative at the American Association Exporters and Importers meeting in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Monday. “This has profound consequences, negative consequences, for the United States.”
Bader said the lack of U.S. involvement in free trade agreements will set it further behind in world economic issues and in the country’s influence in setting international trade rules.
The U.S. government has trade agreements with Mexico and Canada through the North American Free Trade Agreement, and with Israel and Jordan. There are about 100 individual free trade agreements between countries and regions throughout the world, 20 of which have been developed by the European Union and its trading partners.
Proposed free trade agreements between the United States and Chile and Singapore are well underway. Bader said the administration is in the “exploratory stage” to develop free trade agreements with Central America, Australia, Morocco, and South Africa.