WASHINGTON - U.S.
Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick and Bahraini Minister of Finance and
National Economy Abdallah Saif discussed ways to deepen the U.S.-Bahraini
economic relationship and improve bilateral trade ties in a meeting late
yesterday at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The meeting took place
under the auspices of the U.S.-Bahrain TIFA Council, a joint body created by the
U.S.-Bahrain Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).
and investment will play a key role in strengthening the vital strategic
relationship we share with Bahrain," said Zoellick. "Bahrain has long been a key
U.S. partner in promoting peace and stability in the Middle East, and as was
discussed by President Bush and His Majesty King Hamad earlier this year, we are
committed to strengthening the U.S.-Bahrain economic relationship, including
through a possible free trade agreement."
"Bahrain is a
regional leader in economic reform and trade liberalization, and we look forward
to working together on the Doha global trade negotiations" said Zoellick. "The
positive meetings between our officials exemplify the cooperative spirit with
which both of our governments approach trade and investment
discussions follow-up on the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Bahrain TIFA Council
in October 2002. In addition to today's meeting, trade negotiators from both
countries have been meeting throughout the week. Zoellick and Saif discussed
Bahrain's progress at economic reform and trade liberalization since the October
TIFA meeting. Such progress by Bahrain includes ensuring that policies regarding
biotechnology do not serve as impediments to trade, active participation by
Bahrain in the World Trade Organization services negotiations, beginning the
process for Bahrain to accede to the World Intellectual Property Organization
internet treaties, and ensuring an open trade environment for e-commerce.
Zoellick and Minister Saif agreed that the two sides would meet later this year
to take stock of progress.
The United States
has TIFA agreements with a number of countries. These agreements strengthen
bilateral trade and support economic reform through regular senior-level
discussions on commercial and economic issues.
currently our 78th largest trading partner, with $814 million in total (two way)
goods trade during 2002. They are our 71st largest export market and our 76th
largest supplier of imports. In 2002, U.S. goods exports to Bahrain totaled
$419.2 million. Goods imports from Bahrain were $395.1 million. Top U.S. exports
to Bahrain last year included: Aircraft ($75 million), Machinery ($55 million),
Arms and Ammunition ($54 million), and Vehicles (cars) ($37 million).