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Bush Administration Delivers Annual Report On Trade Agreements

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

06 March 2007

The Bush Administration last week delivered to Congress the 2007 Trade Policy Agenda and the 2006 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program.

“The Administration is committed to sustaining momentum for trade liberalization both domestically and abroad,” announced US Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab on Thursday, adding:

“The United States’ vigorous leadership is vital to its own prosperity and the economic health of the world.”

According to the Annual Trade Report, among the highlights of 2006 on the multilateral front were US efforts in the ongoing campaign by World Trade Organization Members to conclude a comprehensive, ambitious and balanced Doha Development Agreement.

The United States also completed bilateral WTO accession agreements with Vietnam, Russia and Ukraine.

In the bilateral and regional arenas, the United States launched negotiations on Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Korea and Malaysia, and signed agreements with Peru and Colombia.

In addition, the United States and its trading partners nearly completed the implementation process for the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (which has since come into force), an FTA with Bahrain came into effect, and Congress approved an FTA with Oman.

Congress also extended several trade preference programs that benefit developing countries.

The United States in 2006 settled a long-running dispute with Canada about trade in softwood lumber, and successfully concluded a dispute with Mexico over that country’s tax treatment of beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.

The United States also sought WTO dispute resolution consultations with China in cases involving China’s treatment of imported auto parts and its apparent continued use of subsidies prohibited under WTO rules.

In 2006, the Office of the United States Trade Representative also completed a Top-to-Bottom Review of US trade ties with China and initiated steps to create and sustain a stronger and more balanced bilateral relationship, now that China has completed its five-year transition to WTO membership.

According to the Trade Policy Agenda, in 2007, the Administration will continue these multilateral, bilateral and regional activities to deepen and strengthen trade ties around the world and to ensure the rules of trade are fair and evenly applied. The Administration will also work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to secure an extension of Trade Promotion Authority.

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