View Full Version : U.S. - Bahrain Free Trade Agreement Transcript
November 8th, 2005, 05:50 PM
Hey fellas, well if anyone is interested in the whole transcript of the signing ceremony of the FTA, here it is, enjoy:
Pearl of the Gulf
November 17th, 2005, 06:49 PM
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
I am pleased to transmit legislation and supporting documents to implement the United States Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (the "Agreement"). This Agreement enhances our bilateral relationship with a strategic friend and ally in the Middle East region and will promote economic growth and prosperity in both nations.
In negotiating this Agreement, my Administration was guided by the objectives set out in the Trade Act of 2002. The Agreement reflects my Administration's commitment to opening markets and expanding opportunities for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses. The Agreement will open Bahrain's market for U.S. manufactured goods, agricultural products, and services. As soon as it enters into force, the Agreement will eliminate tariffs on all manufactured goods that the United States sells to Bahrain and immediately remove Bahrain's import duties on over 80 percent of U.S. agricultural products. The Agreement is also one of the most comprehensive ever negotiated to reduce barriers to trade in services and will create new opportunities for U.S. services firms.
The Agreement contains procedures that will facilitate cooperation between the United States and Bahrain on environmental and labor matters. The labor chapter of the Agreement reinforces Bahrain's recent legislative actions to expand democracy and improve the protection of worker rights, including trade union rights. Provisions in the Agreement requiring effective enforce ment of environmental laws will contribute to high levels of environmental protection.
The approval of this Agreement will be another significant step towards creating a Middle East Free Trade Area by 2013. This Agreement offers the United States yet another opportunity to encourage economic reform in a moderate Muslim nation as we have done through our free trade agreements with Jordan and Morocco. Leaders in Bahrain are supporting the pursuit of social and economic reforms in the region, encouraging foreign investment connected to broad-based development, and providing better protection for women and workers. It is strongly in our national interest to embrace and encourage these reforms, and passing this legislation is a crucial step toward that end.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
November 17, 2005.
November 17th, 2005, 06:54 PM
So its all getting real:)
November 17th, 2005, 06:58 PM
Great, then this FTA is on its way to bein ratified by year end. This will be a huge boost for Bahrain, I can only imagine the benefits it will bring to Bahrain. I think this will be a boost for the financial sector. I'd love to see Goldman Sachs in Bahrain, that would be the bomb.
November 17th, 2005, 07:01 PM
Yeah, and lets see Lehman brothers, Bank of New York, Bank Of America, and all the gang here !
November 17th, 2005, 07:21 PM
We need those banks, they'll be the icing of the cake.
November 17th, 2005, 07:22 PM
and maybe wal mart!
November 18th, 2005, 01:37 AM
Who knows, that would be great but I might doubt that one to start off with. Let's see what happens when this one gets ratified.
Pearl of the Gulf
November 18th, 2005, 07:00 PM
more good news i'll post the article
Pearl of the Gulf
November 18th, 2005, 07:02 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Key committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives approved a U.S. free trade agreement with Bahrain on Friday, clearing the way for final congressional approval by the end of the year.
The pact strengthens U.S. trade and investment ties with a moderate Arab state that is a tiny island neighbor of Saudi Arabia and home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
Bahrain also has promised separately to completely end its participation in the Arab League boycott of Israel and -- under pressure from congressional Democrats -- take further action to strengthen its labor laws.
Republicans and Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee approved the pact on a voice vote in contrast to their bitter debate earlier this year over a free trade agreement with Cental America. The Senate Finance Committee passed the agreement by a vote of 20-0.
"I think this committee is breaking new ground today on how we handle trade agreements." said Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means panel.
"Democrats believe we need some language included in (trade pact legislation) so that we can walk away satisfied that some countries, particularly developing nations, will not be driven to the bottom in terms of worker rights," Rangel said.
The full House and Senate are expected to approve the agreement in December. A U.S. trade official predicted it would be approved by a larger vote than any other recent trade deal.
Although Bahrain is a small trading partner, the agreement brings Washington one step closer to its goal of crafting a regional free trade zone in the Middle East by 2013.
The United States already has pacts with Morocco, Jordan and Israel and expects to sign another with Oman in January.
An agreement with the United Arab Emirates is in the final stages of negotiation and Washington could soon launch talks with Egypt, the Arab world's most populous state.
Two-way trade between the United States and Bahrain totaled nearly about $706 million in 2004, down from nearly $900 million in 2003 because of a drop in civilian aircraft sales.
The biggest U.S. export to Bahrain last year was cars. About half Bahrain's exports to the United States were cotton clothing and household textile goods.
The agreement requires Bahrain to immediately eliminate its already-low tariffs on consumer and industrial goods and most agricultural products.
The Gulf financial services hub also agreed to further open its market to U.S. banks and other service industry firms and to strengthen copyright and patent protections.
The United States reached the agreement with Bahrain more than a year ago. However, Congress delayed action on the agreement until it finished work on the much more controversial U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement.
Pearl of the Gulf
November 18th, 2005, 07:04 PM
this sums it up "The Senate Finance Committee passed the agreement by a vote of 20-0." :)
Pearl of the Gulf
December 8th, 2005, 01:08 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House on Wednesday voted to make the small Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain one of the few Middle Eastern countries with a free-trade relationship with the United States.
The 327-95 vote in favor of the free trade pact reflected a history of good relations with Bahrain, which supported the U.S. in the two Iraq wars and has hosted the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.
The legislation, needed to finalize an agreement signed between the two governments in September 2004, now goes to the Senate, which is expected to endorse it before recessing for the year.
Under the agreement, all bilateral trade in consumer and industrial goods will immediately become duty free. Bahrain also will provide duty-free access to 98 percent of U.S. agriculture exports.
The deal also commits Bahrain to opening its services and telecommunications markets and protecting U.S. patents and copyrights.
Bahrain is an oil-exporting and refining island of 688,000 people located off the coast of Saudi Arabia. In 2003 the United States exported $509 million in aircraft, vehicles, pharmaceuticals and other goods to Bahrain and imported $378 million from the island. Two-way direct investment was about $195 million.
The administration has promoted the free-trade agreement as part of its policy of promoting democracy and economic stability in the region and establishing a Middle East free trade area by 2013.
The agreement, the White House said in a statement, "provides an important opportunity to encourage economic development in a moderate Muslim nation that is a leader of reform in the Gulf region."
The United States currently has free-trade pacts with the Middle East countries of Israel and Jordan, as well as the northern African nation of Morocco.
Other free-trade partners are Mexico and Canada - part of the North American Free Trade Agreement - Chile, Singapore and Australia. This summer Congress narrowly approved the Central America Free Trade Agreement with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
The CAFTA agreement met strong opposition from Democrats who argued that it did not protect worker rights in poor Central American countries, and a small group of Republicans concerned about damage to local industries.
With Bahrain, most Democrats said they were satisfied by the island's commitment to abide by International Labor Organization standards. Lawmakers said they would continue to monitor Bahrain's pledge to end its economic boycott of Israel.
Also on Wednesday, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the United States and Peru had concluded talks on a free trade agreement.
Pearl of the Gulf
December 8th, 2005, 01:09 AM
95 voted against i didn't expect that!!
December 8th, 2005, 01:10 AM
Ya because of the labour laws, cause seriously Bahrain needs to improve. Even with regards to freedom of speech, there was serious setbacks, that's most likely why.
December 9th, 2005, 12:31 AM
The US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement has been backed by the US House of Representatives.
Members voted 327 to 95 vote in favour of the pact, the first between the US and a Gulf country.
It now goes to the Senate for a final vote and is expected to be on the agenda for next week.
"We are delighted that the US House of Representatives passed the Free Trade Agreement between Bahrain and the US by such a large majority," US Ambassador to Bahrain William T. Monroe said yesterday.
"We look forward to the Senate taking up the legislation next week. This is encouraging news for Bahraini and American businesses, who will certainly benefit from an FTA, and a positive sign for the future of free trade in the Gulf region."
Bahrain's Ambassador to the US Dr Naser Al Balooshi also applauded the vote.
"Bahrain is most grateful to the leadership of the members of the House of Representatives," he said.
"This demonstrates this mutually beneficial economic relationship can compliment our well-established social, military and political relationships.
"We look forward to this FTA receiving full consideration by the Senate."
US Trade Representative Rob Portman said that the agreement would create jobs and economic growth in the US and promote democracy, prosperity and hope in the Middle East.
He said that US farmers would find additional opportunities, especially in meats, fruit and vegetables, cereals and dairy products.
"In addition, Bahrain has made broad commitments to open its services market wider than has any previous FTA partner, creating a wide array of opportunities in services sectors such as banking and securities, insurance, telecommunications, audiovisual, express delivery, distribution, healthcare, architecture and engineering," said Mr Portman.
"We look forward to entering into an FTA with others in the region in th near future."
Under the agreement, all bilateral trade in consumer and industrial goods will immediately become duty free.
Bahrain also will provide duty-free access to 98 per cent of US agriculture exports.
The deal also commits Bahrain to opening its services and telecommunications markets and protecting US patents and copyrights.
Most Democrats said they were satisfied by the country's commitment to abide by International Labour Organisation standards.
Lawmakers said they would continue to monitor Bahrain's pledge to end its economic boycott of Israel.
A total of 212 Republicans voted in favour and 115 Democrats. Thirteen Republicans voted against it, 81 Democrats and one independent.
The US Administration has promoted the FTA as part of its policy of promoting democracy and economic stability in the region and establishing a Middle East free trade area by 2013.
The agreement "provides an important opportunity to encourage economic development in a moderate Muslim nation that is a leader of reform in the Gulf region," said a White House statement
The US currently has free-trade pacts with Israel and Jordan, as well as Morocco.
Other free-trade partners are Mexico and Canada, part of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Chile, Singapore and Australia.
This summer Congress narrowly approved the Central America Free Trade Agreement with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
Last year the US exported $400 million (BD151.2m) in goods to Bahrain and imported goods worth $280m (BD105.84m) from the country.
Pearl of the Gulf
December 14th, 2005, 08:32 PM
Bahrain is third Arab country to establish free-trade agreement with United States
U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman has welcomed the Senate’s passage of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA), saying the new pact is an important step in the creation of a Middle East free trade area.
"I applaud the Senate's passage of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement by unanimous consent,” Portman said in a December 14 statement. “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.”
The House of Representatives approved the agreement December 7.
Bahrain will be the third Arab country to have an FTA with the United States, joining Jordan and Morocco. In addition, the United States recently has concluded negotiations for an FTA with Oman and is negotiating an agreement with the United Arab Emirates. President Bush has set out a goal of building a series of bilateral trade agreements into a larger Middle East free-trade area by 2013.
Upon entering into force, the U.S.-Bahrain FTA will eliminate all tariffs on industrial and consumer products, and its supporters say the agreement will open new opportunities for trade in services and agricultural products.
Pearl of the Gulf
December 14th, 2005, 08:34 PM
OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE
Executive Office of the President
"I applaud the Senate's passage of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement by unanimous consent. 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.
"Over the last several months, we have been pleased to work closely with Members on both sides of the aisle to lay the foundation for our trade agenda, including the Bahrain FTA. I want to especially thank Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley, Finance Committee Ranking Chairman Max Baucus, Senators Craig Thomas and Jeff Bingaman, who have been instrumental in rallying support for this agreement."
December 14th, 2005, 09:25 PM
Well only thing that remains is bush's singature and we're in action.
December 15th, 2005, 02:06 AM
WASHINGTON: Bahrain's economy received a massive boost from the US Senate when it approved the Free Trade Agreement yesterday. Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa said it reflects the world's respect for the kingdom and its leadership.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said: "This trade agreement is a clear win for the US economy," he said.
The House of Representatives has already passed the bill to implement the agreement. It was signed between the two governments last year, and now goes to President George W Bush for his signature.
The pact would immediately remove tariffs on consumer and industrial sales between the two countries and provide Bahrain duty-free access to 98 per cent of US agriculture exports.
December 15th, 2005, 02:06 AM
BUSINESS leaders yesterday welcomed the ratification of Bahrain's Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US by the Senate.
It has now cleared its final hurdle in the US, after being ratified by the House of Representatives last week.
Businesses are now eagerly waiting for the agreement to go into effect and hoping that the country will take full advantage of it.
Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) vice-president Ibrahim Zainal said it would be a huge boon to Bahraini business.
"Bahrain is small geographically, but being associated with such a huge and expanding market will help it to find many new opportunities," he said.
"Bahrain-based companies will find it easier to sell their products in the US.
"Generally it is very beneficial for the smaller economy when it joins a larger one."
Mr Zainal urged the business community to take full advantage of the agreement.
"We hope that the private sector will benefit from this opportunity and to its best to join hands new investors locally and internationally," he said.
MP and BCCI board member Othman Al Rayes said the announcement was timely, coming just ahead of Bahrain's National Day celebrations.
He added that both the government and the private sector had a lot of work ahead of it.
"Bahrain needs to make sure that it has the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the new companies that are expected to establish themselves here," said Mr Al Rayes.
While Bahrain's telecommunications infrastructure is of high quality, Mr Al Rayes believes that Bahrain's electricity and roads infrastructure still needs some work.
"Investors who want to build new buildings face long delays in getting electricity connections," he said.
"And the roads network will need to be enhanced to accommodate more traffic because currently there are too many bottlenecks."
Mr Al Rayes added that he hoped that Bahrain's economic reforms would be implemented as soon as possible.
"While some steps have already been taken, they have to be implemented in a bigger way," he said.
"I hope that this will improve transparency and reduce bureaucracy and corruption."
Bahrain Businesswomen's Society board member Afnan Al Zayani, who represented the society in matters related to the FTA, said that Bahrain needed to make full use of its first mover advantage.
"Other countries in the region are also negotiating FTAs with the US, but Bahrain is the first in the Gulf and should benefit from this," she said.
"We need to market Bahrain as an investment destination because it has the FTA."
Ms Al Zayani said that Bahrain should now promote itself as a gateway to the US.
"I believe that we can attract other Middle Eastern countries here and also countries from the Far East. That is what happened in Jordan when it got its FTA with the US," she said.
"The FTA is an agreement between governments but it requires an effort from the private sector in order to be effective."
Ms Al Zayani said people needed to be educated about the fact that the FTA will help the man on the street and not just corporations.
"When multi-nationals set up shop here, it will improve business in general, including the real estate sector, the suq, taxi drivers and all others," she said.
A step forward says US envoy US Ambassador William Monroe yesterday welcomed the Senate's ratification of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Bahrain.
"We welcome this latest step forward in the ratification of the FTA and the strong show of support by the US Congress," he said in a statement.
"It marks another positive step towards greater trade between American and Bahraini businesses and towards free trade in the Gulf region.
"We look forward to the implementation of the FTA in the coming months."
February 23rd, 2006, 12:11 PM
US official to visit Bahrain
MANAMA: US Commerce Secretary Carlos M Gutierrez will visit Bahrain on Monday at the invitation of Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro in co-ordination the with Economic Development Board. He will participate in a conference to mark the signing of Free Trade Agreement
May 19th, 2006, 09:09 PM
Why Still i cannot use Paypal and Clickbank in Bahrain :jk: :cheers: :bash: