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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 15, 2004
Message to the Congress of the United States
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
I am pleased to transmit legislation and supporting documents prepared by my Administration to implement the United States-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (the "Agreement" or the "FTA"). This Agreement enhances our bilateral relationship with a longstanding partner in the North Africa and Middle East region. The Agreement will benefit the people of the United States and Morocco, illustrating to other developing countries the advantages of open markets.
This Agreement is a strong demonstration of my Administration's commitment to opening markets, leveling the playing field, and expanding opportunities for American workers, manufacturers, businesses, farmers, and consumers. In negotiating this Agreement, my Administration was guided by the negotiating objectives set out in the Trade Act of 2002. The Agreement will expand Morocco's market for U.S. manufactured goods, agricultural products, services, and investment. As soon as this Agreement enters into force, tariffs will be eliminated on virtually all manufactured goods traded between our countries.
The Agreement provides U.S. producers of beef, poultry, wheat, corn, soybeans, and other agriculture products with increased access to Morocco's market, while complementing Morocco's agriculture reform program. In addition, the Agreement provides the opportunity for U.S. producers to adjust to increased imports from Morocco, if necessary.
New opportunities for U.S. services firms will be opened, U.S. investment will be protected, and U.S. companies will be able to participate in government procurement opportunities on the same basis as Moroccan firms. This Agreement has some of the strongest intellectual property protections ever contained in a U.S. trade agreement with a developing country.
The United States and Morocco have agreed to cooperate on environment and labor issues and to establish mechanisms supporting those efforts. Negotiation of this Agreement has promoted adoption of a new labor law in Morocco. This Agreement has also helped lead to improved domestic environmental laws in Morocco, and a number of additional cooperative projects have been identified for future work.
The approval of this Agreement will be another important step in implementing our plan for a broader Middle East Free Trade Area. Indeed, this Agreement offers the United States an opportunity to encourage economic reform in a moderate Muslim nation, as we have done with the Jordan FTA and the recently concluded Bahrain FTA. Leaders in Morocco support a reformist and tolerant vision that includes free parliamentary elections, the sale of state-owned businesses, the encouragement of foreign investment that can be connected to broad-based development, and better protection of the rights of women and workers. It is strongly in the interests of the United States to embrace these reforms and do what we can to encourage them. Passing this Agreement is a critical step in that direction.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
July 15, 2004.
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