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USTR Portman Meets with Australian Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile

Welcomes Progress on the U.S.-Australia FTA

WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Rob Portman met today with the Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade Mark Vaile for the first annual review of the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which entered into force on January 1, 2005.

"I am pleased with the success of our FTA so far. After only one year, the U.S.-Australia FTA has expanded trade in goods and services, benefiting the citizens of both countries," Portman said. "We’ve seen a substantial jump in exports of U.S. goods, including pork, fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, rice, wine, machinery, including electrical machinery, trucks and parts, and aircraft. This is great news for American businesses, workers, farmers and ranchers as well as Australian consumers."

In addition to reviewing the results of the FTA so far, the two sides discussed ongoing implementation and other issues. Portman urged Vaile to continue to work to ensure further progress on agriculture, telecommunications, and intellectual property rights issues. He also discussed with the Australian Government the need for transparent pharmaceuticals pricing processes consistent with the commitments in the U.S. – Australia FTA.

Portman and Vaile also had the opportunity to discuss the ongoing WTO Doha Round talks. "I appreciate Minister Vaile’s continued leadership in the Doha negotiations, particularly in the area of agriculture, and I look forward to our continued efforts to help promote and achieve an ambitious outcome," Portman said.

BACKGROUND

Australia is a major trade and investment partner of the United States. Since the FTA entered into force in 2005, U.S. goods exports to Australia in 2005 were up 10.9 percent from 2004 to $15.8 billion.

The U.S.-Australia FTA is a state-of-the-art agreement that reflects the modern global economy by opening markets and streamlining mutual access in intellectual property, services, government procurement, e-commerce and investment. This historic agreement slashed tariffs on manufactured and agricultural goods, reduced barriers for services firms, provides for state-of-the-art intellectual property protection, facilitates U.S. investments, opens Australia’s government procurement market to U.S. goods and service suppliers, keeps pace with new technologies and new ways of doing business, and promotes continued environmental and labor protections."

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