"We are delighted
that the House of Representatives has marked the one-year anniversary of passage
of the Trade Act of 2002 by passing free trade agreements with Chile and
Singapore by comfortable margins.
"The Trade Act of
2002 renewed presidential Trade Promotion Authority after an eight-year lapse,
and today's vote demonstrates that President Bush and Congress will work
together to make good use of TPA to open markets around the world for American
businesses, workers, and farmers.
"The votes today
are a victory for openness and an important recognition by the Congress of the
positive role that trade plays in growing America's economy.
cutting-edge agreements eliminate tariffs, tackle non-tariff barriers, open
services markets, strengthen the intellectual property protections for our
knowledge industries, and enhance labor and environmental protections. They
level the playing field for U.S. businesses, increase choice and value for
American consumers, and provide fresh momentum for open markets as we approach
the Doha Agenda's mid-point meeting in Cancun.
FTA passed by a vote of 272 to 155, and the Chile FTA passed 270 to 156. These
votes show that when real agreements with concrete benefits for businesses and
consumers are on the line, Congress supports the expansion of free trade. These
votes are a tribute both to the hard work of key Members of Congress from both
parties—and to President Bush's strong commitment to get America moving again on
"The free trade
agreements approved today by the House are an important part of the
Administration's efforts to expand trade globally, regionally, and bilaterally.
According to a recent Cato Institute study, taken together as a group, the Chile
and Singapore FTAs; the ongoing FTA negotiations with Morocco, Central America
(CAFTA), South African Customs Union (SACU), and Australia; and the proposed
Bahrain FTA would constitute the 4th largest U.S. export market and the world's
9th largest economy in terms of purchasing power.
"In addition to
negotiating FTAs, the United States will continue to aggressively press for
global free markets through the World Trade Organization; and for hemispheric
openness, through the creation of a Free Trade Area of the