Letter urging Senate to support U.S.-Australia FTA
February 19, 2004
TO MEMBERS OF THE U.S. SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pleased that the recently concluded U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will bring tangible commercial benefits to American companies, workers and consumers. We urge you to support this agreement that will offer American companies greater access to the Australian market, enhance our competitive position in the Asia-Pacific region and cement an already solid relationship with one of our strongest allies.
The U.S.-Australia FTA will immediately eliminate more than 90 percent of remaining Australian tariffs on U.S. manufactured and agricultural goods exported to Australia. The FTA also guarantees fair and non-discriminatory treatment and greater market access for U.S. firms into Australia's services industries, such as telecommunications, financial services, distribution services, express delivery, and legal services. In addition, the FTA builds upon and improves existing international copyright agreements, and includes important new enforcement provisions to deter piracy and counterfeiting.
The United States is already Australia's largest source of imports and second-largest export destination. Bilateral trade between the United States and Australia reached over $28 billion last year, and the United States enjoys a substantial trade surplus with Australia of over $6 billion. The FTA would further eliminate trade barriers, lower tariffs and provide increased market access for U.S. companies. By knocking down trade barriers in Australia and in the rest of the world, we can help support even more American jobs.
As the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will work to inform Congress about the merits of the accord and build bipartisan support for its approval. Because of the importance of this issue to America's businesses and consumers, we urge you to support it with your vote.
Thomas J. Donohue
President and CEO
U.S. Chamber of Commerce