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US Senate Approves Free Trade Agreement With Bahrain

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

16 December 2005


Sen. Charles Grassley (R - Iowa) Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee has welcomed the chamber's unanimous approval of a Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Bahrain, which will immediately eliminate all duties on imports of US consumer and industrial products.

"This trade agreement is a clear win for the US economy," commented Mr Grassley.

He went on to explain that: "Upon entry into force of the Agreement Bahrain will immediately eliminate 100 percent of its duties on imports of US consumer and industrial products. US farmers will also benefit. On day one of the Agreement, Bahrain will grant duty-free access on 98 percent of its tariff lines that apply to US agricultural and food products. Duties with respect to the remaining 2 percent will be phased out over 10 years.

According to Mr Grassley, Bahrain will also provide substantial market access across its entire services regime. The service provisions of the Agreement are based upon a “negative list” approach, which means that all service sectors are covered unless specifically excluded.

The Agreement was also welcomed by United States Trade Representative Rob Portman.

"I applaud the Senate's passage of the US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement by unanimous consent," he stated, adding that:

"Along with last week's overwhelming passage by the House, Congress has sent the world a powerful message - America is committed to opening markets and contributing to global economic growth and development.

"This free trade agreement with Bahrain, our first with a Gulf country and our third with an Arab country, signals our commitment to deepening America's relationship with the Middle East region. It is another major step forward in implementing President Bush's plan for a Middle East Free Trade Area, building on our existing agreements with Israel, Jordan and Morocco, as well as our recently-concluded FTA with Oman. And we look forward to entering into an FTA with others in the region in the near future."


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