For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 12, 2004
Message to the Senate of the United States
To the Senate of the United States:
With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Protocol Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Estonia to the Treaty for the Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investment of April 19, 1994, signed at Brussels on October 24, 2003. I transmit also, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State with respect to this Protocol.
I have already forwarded to the Senate similar Protocols for Romania and Bulgaria and now forward simultaneously to the Senate Protocols for the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the Slovak Republic. Each of these Protocols is the result of an understanding the United States reached with the European Commission and these six countries that will join the European Union (EU) on May 1, 2004, as well as with Bulgaria and Romania, which are expected to join the EU in 2007.
The understanding is designed to preserve U.S. bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with each of these countries after their accession to the EU by establishing a framework acceptable to the European Commission for avoiding or remedying present and possible future incompatibilities between their BIT obligations and their future obligations of EU membership. It expresses the U.S. intent to amend the U.S. BITs, including the BIT with Estonia, in order to eliminate incompatibilities between certain BIT obligations and EU law. It also establishes a framework for addressing any future incompatibilities that may arise as EU authority in the area of investment expands in the future, and endorses the principle of protecting existing U.S. investments from any future EU measures that may restrict foreign investment in the EU.
The United States has long championed the benefits of an open investment climate, both at home and abroad. It is the policy of the United States to welcome market-driven foreign investment and to permit capital to flow freely to seek its highest return. This Protocol preserves the U.S. BIT with Estonia, with which the United States has an expanding relationship, and the protections it affords U.S. investors even after Estonia joins the EU. Without it, the European Commission would likely require Estonia to terminate its U.S. BIT upon accession because of existing and possible future incompatibilities between our current BIT and EU law.
I recommend that the Senate consider this Protocol as soon as possible, and give its advice and consent to ratification at an early date.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
March 12, 2004.
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