United States Announces Intention to Negotiate Free Trade Agreements with Bahrain and Dominican Republic
August 14, 2003
The United States Trade Representative's office has formally notified Congress that the Administration intends to begin negotiating free trade agreements with Bahrain and the Dominican Republic in January 2004.
The USTR indicated that an FTA with Bahrain would be an anchor for the envisioned Middle East free trade area, which the President hopes to have in place by 2013. United States exports to Bahrain in 2002 totaled over $419 million, and ranged from aircraft and vehicles to agricultural goods. United States imports from Bahrain totaled $395 million and ranged from apparel and chemicals to aluminum.
The USTR also indicated that the planned FTA with the Dominican Republic would integrate the Dominican Republic into the negotiations with the Central American Five (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Guatemala), in essence creating a group of six. While many goods from the Dominican Republic already enter the United States duty free under various preference programs, an FTA would dramatically lower duties on United States goods entering the Dominican Republic. The USTR expects major United States beneficiaries to include the following industries: computers, telecommunications equipment, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, textile fabrics, building materials, electrical power systems, food processing and packaging, wheat, beef, pork, dairy, soybean meal, corn, rice, beans, fresh fruits and wine.