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July 15, 1999
The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 434, which would provide enhanced trade and investment benefits for sub-Saharan African countries. This bill complements the President's "Partnership for Economic Growth and Opportunity in Africa" initiative and will help to promote broad economic reform and accelerated growth in Africa. This legislation is designed to improve the way the United States does business with African countries and to improve economic opportunities for Africans and Americans.
African countries are on the doorstep of a new era of democracy and prosperity. H.R. 434 encourages them to undertake trade and other reform efforts in return for greater trade benefits, while providing worker rights protections. We believe the worker rights provisions reported by the House International Relations Committee will help to advance these interests. African countries have shown that when they implement successful and sustainable economic and political reform programs, they can experience the same strong growth rates seen elsewhere in the world.
The President has observed that as Africa's nations join the global march toward freedom and open markets, the United States has a deep interest in helping to ensure that these efforts pay off. The United States must respond constructively to the changes in Africa.
The Administration will continue to work with Congress through the legislative process to ensure the strongest possible bipartisan support for the bill.
Finally, certain language in sections 5 and 6 of the bill raises constitutional concerns with regard to separation of powers. The Administration will work with Congress to resolve these concerns.
H.R. 434 would affect receipts; therefore, it is subject to the pay-as-you-go requirements of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. The bill contains provisions that do not fully offset the five year reduction in receipts. The Administration supports this bill, and will work with Congress to find appropriate offsets.