May 18,2000

AFRICA/CBI Trade Bill Signed Into Law

Roth Speaks at White House Signing Ceremony

WASHINGTON -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) today delivered the following remarks at the White House as the Trade and Development Act of 2000 was signed into law:

"Passage of the Trade and Development Act of 2000 is a major milestone. It marks the beginning of a new partnership between the United States and its trading partners in Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean. The Act represents a down-payment on what I hope will be an enduring economic relationship with Africa and a re-commitment of our energy to economic opportunity in the Caribbean Basin.

"The Act also represents a win for our industry and for economic opportunity here at home. From the start, we viewed this as a way of helping both our friends in Africa and the Caribbean Basin, and a way of empowering our textile industry to compete in world markets. We have done that. The latest estimates by the current head of the leading U.S. textile manufacturers association has indicated that the bill will mean billions of dollars of new sales and tens of thousands of new jobs here in the United States.

"But, the President's signature on this legislation represents something still more profound. This legislation reasserts America's leadership on world trade. The Act is the first trade bill passed by Congress in six years; indeed, it is the first trade measure passed without the benefit of fast track in well over a decade.

"Its passage provides the most effective rebuttal I can imagine to those who said that political divisions at home would prevent the United States from pursuing an aggressive trade agenda abroad. I also want to make clear that we are not done. To quote Ronald Reagan, another pro-trade resident of the White House, 'You ain't seen nothing yet.'

"The support for this bill proves what we can accomplish for American farmers, industry, and workers with a bipartisan approach to what is, after all, a trade policy designed to benefit all Americans.

"That same spirit animated the Senate Finance Committee, which I chair, and the Ways and Means Committee to vote yesterday in overwhelming numbers for passage of permanent normal trade relations with China. And, it is that spirit that will ensure victory in the full House and Senate in the coming weeks.

"Whether it is the passage of this legislation, or the passage of PNTR for China, each represents a positive step toward rebuilding a bipartisan consensus on trade."