Zoellick Statement Following House Approval of Chile and Singapore FTAs
"We are delighted that the House of Representatives has marked the one-year anniversary of passage of the Trade Act of 2002 by passing free trade agreements with Chile and Singapore by comfortable margins.
"The Trade Act of 2002 renewed presidential Trade Promotion Authority after an eight-year lapse, and today's vote demonstrates that President Bush and Congress will work together to make good use of TPA to open markets around the world for American businesses, workers, and farmers.
"The votes today are a victory for openness and an important recognition by the Congress of the positive role that trade plays in growing America's economy.
"These cutting-edge agreements eliminate tariffs, tackle non-tariff barriers, open services markets, strengthen the intellectual property protections for our knowledge industries, and enhance labor and environmental protections. They level the playing field for U.S. businesses, increase choice and value for American consumers, and provide fresh momentum for open markets as we approach the Doha Agenda's mid-point meeting in Cancun.
"The Singapore FTA passed by a vote of 272 to 155, and the Chile FTA passed 270 to 156. These votes show that when real agreements with concrete benefits for businesses and consumers are on the line, Congress supports the expansion of free trade. These votes are a tribute both to the hard work of key Members of Congress from both parties—and to President Bush's strong commitment to get America moving again on trade.
"The free trade agreements approved today by the House are an important part of the Administration's efforts to expand trade globally, regionally, and bilaterally. According to a recent Cato Institute study, taken together as a group, the Chile and Singapore FTAs; the ongoing FTA negotiations with Morocco, Central America (CAFTA), South African Customs Union (SACU), and Australia; and the proposed Bahrain FTA would constitute the 4th largest U.S. export market and the world's 9th largest economy in terms of purchasing power.
"In addition to negotiating FTAs, the United States will continue to aggressively press for global free markets through the World Trade Organization; and for hemispheric openness, through the creation of a Free Trade Area of the Americas."