Chamber Letter Supporting Passage of the U.S. Bahrain Free Trade Implementation Agreement
December 6, 2005
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, I write to express our strong support for the passage of H.R. 4340, the "U.S.–Bahrain Free Trade Implementation Agreement."
The U.S.–Bahrain Free Trade Implementation Agreement provides duty-free treatment for consumer and industrial goods, allows 98 percent of U.S. agricultural exports to flow duty free into Bahrain, and provides the strongest access for U.S. services in any FTA—including for financial services, where Bahrain is a leader in this sector. Passage of this agreement will not only increase trade and investment flows between the U.S. and Bahrain, it will also promote democracy and encourage greater economic and political reform in Bahrain. Most importantly, this Agreement represents a successful, bi-partisan Congressional effort to support the liberalization of trade among two strategic partners.
Additionally, this agreement is an important component of U.S. efforts to expand our trade ties with countries in the Middle East region and furthers the goal of creating a Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) by 2013. MEFTA will create a competitive advantage for U.S. companies in the Middle East against our trade competitors in Europe and Asia that are also aggressively negotiating trade agreements that promote non-U.S. standards.
In short, the U.S.–Bahrain Free Trade Implementation Agreement furthers America's regional efforts to promote political, labor and economic reforms, bolsters our anti-terrorism efforts, and provides substantial economic opportunities for American businesses large and small. Therefore, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly encourages your favorable support for passage of H.R. 4340. Passage of this important free trade agreement strengthens America's strong and critical bilateral alliance with the Kingdom of Bahrain and demonstrates our continued commitment to the promotion of peace and prosperity in the Middle East region. For these reasons, the Chamber will consider using votes on or in relation to this issue for inclusion in our annual "How they Voted" ratings.
R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce