The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 6, 2004

Message 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-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This Agreement adds an important dimension to our bilateral relationship with a steadfast ally in the global economic and strategic arena. This FTA will enhance the prosperity of the people of the United States and Australia, serve the interest of expanding U.S. commerce, and advance our overall national interest.

My Administration is committed to securing a level playing field and creating opportunities for America's workers, farmers, and businesses. The United States and Australia already enjoy a strong trade relationship. The U.S.-Australia FTA will further open Australia's market for U.S. manufactured goods, agricultural products, and services, and will promote new growth in our bilateral trade. As soon as this FTA enters into force, tariffs will be eliminated on almost all manufactured goods traded between our countries, providing significant export opportunities for American manufacturers. American farmers will also benefit due to the elimination of tariffs on all exports of U.S. agricultural products.

The U.S.-Australia FTA will also benefit small- and medium-sized businesses and their employees. Such firms already account for a significant amount of bilateral trade. The market opening resulting from this Agreement presents opportunities for those firms looking to start or enhance participation in global trade.

In negotiating this FTA, my Administration was guided by the negotiating objectives set out in the Trade Act of 2002. The Agreement's provisions on agriculture represent a balanced response to those seeking improved access to Australia's markets, through immediate elimination of tariffs on U.S. exports and mechanisms to resolve sanitary and phytosanitary issues and facilitate trade between our countries, while recognizing the sensitive nature of some U.S. agricultural sectors and their possible vulnerability to increased imports.

The U.S.-Australia FTA also reinforces the importance of creativity and technology to both of our economies. The Agreement includes rules providing for strong protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, promotes the use of electronic commerce, and provides for increased cooperation between our agencies on addressing anticompetitive practices, financial services, telecommunications, and other matters.

The Agreement memorializes our shared commitment to labor and environmental issues. The United States and Australia have worked in close cooperation on these issues in the past and will pursue this strategy and commitment to cooperation in bilateral and global fora in the future.

With the approval of this Agreement and passage of the implementing legislation by the Congress, we will advance U.S. economic, security, and political interests, and set an example of the benefits of free trade and democracy for the world.



July 6, 2004.

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