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Middle East Free Trade Initiative: U.S. Regional Plan to Spur Economic Growth

In May 2003, the President proposed a plan of graduated steps for
Middle Eastern nations to increase trade and investment with the United States and others in the world
economy. The first step is to work closely with peaceful nations that want to become members of the World Trade
Organization (WTO) in order to expedite their accession. As these countries implement domestic reform
agendas, institute the rule of law, protect property rights (including intellectual property), and create a
foundation for openness and economic growth, the United States will take a series of graduated steps with
countries in the region tailored to their level of development. The U.S. will expand and deepen economic ties through
Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFAs), Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), and
comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), and will enhance the Generalized System of Preferences
(GSP) program for eligible countries.

Active Support for WTO Accession


Working on accession to the World Trade Organization
with:


· Saudi Arabia


· Lebanon


· Algeria


· Yemen


Robust Trade and Investment Framework Action
Plans


TIFAs promote the establishment of legal protections for
investors, improvements in intellectual property protection, more transparent
and efficient customs procedures, and greater transparency in
government and commercial regulations. TIFAs in place:


· Bahrain


· Egypt


· Tunisia


· Algeria


· Saudi Arabia (signed July
2003)


· Kuwait (signed February
2004)


· Yemen (signed February
2004)


Free Trade Agreements


· U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement
(in force)


· U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement
(in force)


· U.S. – Morocco FTA: completed
negotiations March 2, 2004


· U.S.- Bahrain FTA: launched
negotiations January, 2004

"Leaders in the region speak of a new Arab charter that champions internal reform, greater political participation, economic openness, and free trade." President George W. Bush, American Enterprise Institute, February 27, 2003