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Trade Promotion Authority will enhance US leadership in trade liberalisation.

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Trade News Mark Vaile − Trade Minister Deputy Leader of the National Party

Parliament House, Canberra 2600 Ph: +61 2 6277 7420 Fx: +61 2 6273 4128

Friday, 7 December 2001 MVT160/2001


Trade Minister, Mark Vaile, welcomed the passage of Trade Promotion Authority by the US House of Representatives on 6 December.

The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), formerly known as “fast track” authority, provides for the US Congress to approve or reject international trade agreements entered into by the Administration. However, it may not amend them.

The Trade Promotion Authority Bill is now expected to be introduced in the US Senate in the near future.

“The granting of TPA will enhance the Bush Administration’s capacity to engage in global and regional trade liberalisation initiatives,” Mr Vaile said.

“The Administration understands the imperative for strong US leadership on trade and we are encouraging it to drive the reform and liberalisation of world trade in agriculture, which remains the most protected sector.”

The TPA debate was accompanied by consideration of congressional views in other trade areas, such as steel and the farm bill.

“We will be urging the Administration to seize the opportunity to resist further protectionist measures,” said Mr Vaile.

The granting of TPA will put the US Administration in a better position to pursue its bilateral and regional trade priorities.

“In line with the agreement between Prime Minister Howard and President Bush, I look forward to discussing with US Trade Representative Mr Zoellick early next year ways to take forward the proposal for an Australia-US FTA,” said Mr Vaile.

Contact: Mr Vaile’s office on 02 6277 7420 Lyndall Sachs (Department) 02 6261 1555