Office of the United States Trade Representative


Statement of USTR Rob Portman on Senate Passage of Bahrain Free Trade Agreement

"I applaud the Senate's passage of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement by unanimous consent.  Along with last week's overwhelming passage by the House, Congress has sent the world a powerful message - America is committed to opening markets and contributing to global economic growth and development.

"This free trade agreement with Bahrain, our first with a Gulf country and our third with an Arab country, signals our commitment to deepening America's relationship with the Middle East region.  It is another major step forward in implementing President Bush's plan for a Middle East Free Trade Area, building on our existing agreements with Israel, Jordan and Morocco, as well as our recently-concluded FTA with Oman.  And we look forward to entering into an FTA with others in the region in the near future.

"Over the last several months, we have been pleased to work closely with Members on both sides of the aisle to lay the foundation for our trade agenda, including the Bahrain FTA.  I want to especially thank Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley, Finance Committee Ranking Chairman Max Baucus, Senators Craig Thomas and Jeff Bingaman, who have been instrumental in rallying support for this agreement."

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