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Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative
President Bush announced today an important new trade initiative with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - the Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative (EAI). The United States believes that a strong U.S.-ASEAN relationship is a force for stability and development in the Southeast Asian region. The EAI will enhance already close U.S. ties with ASEAN.
The EAI offers the prospect of bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) between the United States and ASEAN countries that are committed to economic reforms and openness. The goal is to create a network of bilateral FTAs, which will increase trade and investment, tying more closely together our economies and our futures. The EAI initiative will encourage both bilateral and regional liberalization, and help APEC reach the Bogor goals for achieving free and open trade and investment in the Asia Pacific region.
A Roadmap to FTAs: Under the EAI, the United States and individual ASEAN countries will jointly determine if and when they are ready to launch FTA negotiations. The EAI allows ASEAN countries the flexibility to move at their own speed toward an FTA with the United States.
Mutual Benefits: This initiative will generate significant benefits for both the United States and ASEAN. The ASEAN countries are anticipating solid economic growth in the years ahead and, with ASEAN's population of 500 million, the opportunities for U.S. companies are enormous:
Background: Pursuing Free Trade Globally, Regionally, and Bilaterally: The Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative is integral to America's overall agenda for trade, economic growth, hope and opportunity. In addition to the Doha Development Agenda of global trade negotiations, the United States is pursuing regional and bilateral trade initiatives that will reinforce our global efforts, including:
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