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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 9, 2004

US-Middle East Free Trade Area
Fact Sheet: US-Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA)

"Across the globe, free markets and trade have helped defeat poverty, and taught men and women the habits of liberty. So I propose the establishment of a U.S.-Middle East free trade area within a decade, to bring the Middle East into an expanding circle of opportunity, to provide hope for the people who live in that region."

President Bush
May 9, 2003
Columbia, S.C.

The President's Vision of Free Trade in the Middle East

To re-ignite economic growth and expand opportunity in the Middle East, the President, in May 2003, set out his vision of establishing a U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) by 2013. The MEFTA's focus is to work with countries in the Middle East in graduated steps to increase trade and investment with the United States and the world economy, and to assist these countries in implementing domestic reforms, instituting the rule of law, protecting private property rights (including intellectual property), and creating a foundation for openness, economic growth, and prosperity.

Substantial MEFTA Progress at the One-Year Mark