For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 9, 2003
Proposed Middle East Initiatives
Promoting Economic Growth
"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."
May 9, 2003
To re-ignite economic growth and expand opportunity in the Middle
East, the President outlined proposals to:
Establish a U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Area within a decade.
Building on our free trade agreements (FTAs) with Israel and Jordan,
the United States will take a series of graduated steps:
reforming countries become members of the World Trade Organization;
- Negotiate Bilateral Investment Treaties and Trade and Investment
Framework Agreements with governments determined to improve their trade
and investment regimes;
- Complete our negotiations on a free trade
agreement with Morocco by the end of this year;
- Launch, in
consultation with Congress, new bilateral free trade agreements with
governments committed to high standards and comprehensive trade
- Provide assistance to build trade capacity
and expansion so countries can benefit from integration into the global
Work with our partners in the region to:
- Establish a Middle
East finance facility to help small- and medium-sized businesses gain
access to capital and generate jobs;
- Reform commercial codes,
improve the climate for trade and investment, and strengthen property
rights through a new initiative for commercial law in cooperation with
U.S. and Middle Eastern law schools and jurists, and
business-to-business contacts; and
- Promote transparency in public
finances, help countries fight corruption, and support financial sector
reforms based on international best practices.
Promoting Education and Knowledge
"Making the most of economic opportunities will require broader and
better education, especially among women who have faced the greatest
May 9, 2003
The President outlined proposals to:
Grow our successful partnership with Morocco and Yemen to expand
their girls' and women's literacy programs to other interested
Partner with countries to help empower parents and local
communities to give them a greater voice in how their children are
educated. Expand a successful program in Alexandria, Egypt, to other
Egyptian cities and other interested countries in the region.
Partner with countries to provide incentives, such as vouchers, to
families that send their girls to school, building on successful
programs in Morocco and Egypt.
- Secretary of Education Paige will
be hosting the Egyptian Minister of Education and four governors in
Washington next week to discuss the success of this project.
Promoting Freedom and Justice
"The history of the modern world offers a lesson for the skeptics:
do not bet against the success of freedom. Freedom has advanced
because the desire for liberty and justice is found in every human
heart. And the men and women of the Muslim world, one-fifth of all
humanity, share this hope of liberty."
May 9, 2003
The United States proposes to work with partners in the region to:
Establish a regional forum on judicial reform. Supreme Court
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has agreed to head a team of American
jurists to Bahrain to help launch this effort this fall.
Establish regional campaign schools to provide training in
leadership and organizational skills for women seeking elective
office across the region. The first of these will be held this fall in
Begin media training and media law projects that include
participants initially from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon,
Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.
Provide training for new parliamentarians and support for civil
society organizations through groups like the National Democratic
Institute and International Republican Institute in partnership with
organizations in the region.
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