Letter to the Ways and Means Committee on the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement
Honorable William M. Thomas
Ways and Means Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Thomas:
As a Member of the Ways and Means Committee, you will be voting shortly on legislation to implement the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce —the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses in every size, sector, and region — strongly supports this landmark FTA, which will bring tangible commercial benefits to American companies, workers, and consumers.
The U.S.-Australia FTA will immediately eliminate more than 99% of remaining Australian tariffs on U.S. manufactured 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 $9 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.
When the Ways and Means Committee considers the U.S.-Australia FTA, we urge you to strengthen the position of American workers, consumers, and businesses by sending this FTA to the House floor for prompt consideration and passage.
R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce