USTR - Bush Administration Delivers Annual Trade Report and Ambitious Agenda to Congress
Office of the United States Trade Representative

 

Bush Administration Delivers Annual Trade Report and Ambitious Agenda to Congress
03/01/2006

WASHINGTON
– The Bush Administration today delivered to Congress the 2006 Trade Policy Agenda and the 2005 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program.  The 2006 report details the many benefits of trade for U.S. businesses, farmers and ranchers, service providers and consumers,  reviews the Administration’s accomplishments of 2005 and lays out its ambitious agenda for 2006.

Looking Forward

In the report, U.S. Trade Representative Portman laid out an ambitious agenda and wrote, “In 2006, the Administration is committed to creating new momentum for a bipartisan consensus to open markets and knock down barriers to trade around the world.  Working in partnership with Congress, we will be promoting an aggressive and proactive agenda.”

One of the top priorities is conclusion of the Doha Development Round by the end of the year.

“The potential benefits from the successful Doha Round for the United States and its trading partners, especially in the developing nations, are enormous, and we will continue to do all we can to achieve a successful result,” wrote Portman.

Portman also emphasized the importance of successfully concluding bilateral and regional agreements in 2006, writing, “In parallel to its Doha Round efforts, the Administration will move vigorously to negotiate new bilateral and regional trade agreements to create a host of new opportunities for U.S. workers, farmers and businesses.” 

He also said trade rules must be fair and aggressively enforced. “The Administration agrees with lawmakers from both parties that free trade only works if the parties agree to trade fairly. The Administration will continue to use all available tools to ensure that our trading partners live up to their obligations as WTO Members and FTA partners.  We will challenge and confront our trade partners who pursue policies and actions that create illegal barriers to U.S. exports,” wrote Portman.

Finally, Portman noted that, “The emergence of China as a global power has created new opportunities and new challenges.” Portman pledged to work with Congress, other government agencies and the private sector on proposals, which were included in a top-to-bottom review of U.S. trade policies China, to better monitor and enforce China’s compliance with its obligations as a WTO member.

The Year in Review

The year 2005 was an active year in trade as the Administration worked toward a comprehensive agreement in the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks, secured congressional approval of free trade agreements with Bahrain, the Dominican Republic and Central American countries, concluded a free trade agreement with Peru, actively negotiated free trade agreements with several other countries, and vigorously enforced global trade rules to ensure that our trading partners met their commitments.

“The Administration has focused on tangible progress on the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels to expand trade opportunities,” Ambassador Portman wrote in the Report’s overview. 

With regard to the WTO’s Doha Development Round he wrote, “The United States energized the WTO talks prior to the ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December 2005 with a comprehensive proposal to make deep cuts in agricultural tariffs and reduce trade-distorting agricultural subsidies, if other countries would take reciprocal steps in their markets.”

With regard to bilateral and regional agreements, Portman wrote, “Recently-concluded FTA negotiations with Peru, Colombia and Oman, along with ongoing negotiations with Ecuador, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Panama, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates, could result in new market opportunities in countries with which our two-way trade is more than $66 billion,” continued Portman.  “With the launch of FTA talks with the Republic of Korea and other major trading partners possible this year, the United States could tap the vast potential of improved ties to markets with which it already has a strong trade relationship.”

Portman also emphasized trade’s role in helping promote economic growth and democratic reform in the Middle East and reported on the progress of President Bush’s Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) initiative proposed in 2003.  “This year opened with significant movement toward making the MEFTA a reality,” Portman added.  “The FTA with Morocco went into effect on January 1, 2006. Also in January, the President signed legislation to implement an agreement with Bahrain, and the United States and Oman formally signed the {free trade agreement} concluded in the fall of 2005.”

The 2006 Trade Policy Agenda and the 2005 Annual Report is prepared according to the guidelines established under the Trade Act of 1974, as amended.  Click here for the full report.

 
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item: 2006 Trade Policy Agenda