Committee Advances U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement
Following are the official results and a comment from Chairman Grassley.
Results of Executive Session
November 9, 2005
The Committee on Finance reviewed and approved recommendations on proposed legislationimplementing the U.S. Bahrain Free Trade Agreement by a Roll Call Vote of 20 ayes, 0 nays. Ayes:Grassley, Hatch, Lott, Snowe, Kyl, Thomas, Santorum, Frist, Smith, Bunning, Crapo, Baucus,Rockefeller, Conrad, Jeffords, Bingaman, Kerry, Lincoln, Wyden, Schumer (proxy)
M E M O R A N D U M
To: Reporters and Editors
Re: Committee recommends U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement
Da: Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005
Today the Committee on Finance reviewed and approved recommendations on proposedlegislation implementing the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement. The committee unanimouslyapproved the recommendations on the proposed legislation on a roll call vote of 20 ayes, 0 nays. Thenext step is for the President to send the formal implementing bill to Congress. Then the bill willbe formally introduced in Congress, starting a deadline for formal congressional consideration. Sen.Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, which has jurisdiction over internationaltrade, made the following comment on today’s developments.
“The U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement will benefit U.S. farmers, workers, manufacturers,and service industries. Under this agreement, 100 percent of trade between the United States andBahrain in industrial and consumer products will become duty-free immediately. Bahrain will grantduty-free access on day one of the agreement for 98 percent of U.S. agricultural tariff lines, andtariffs on the remaining 2 percent of agricultural tariff lines will be phased out over ten years.Bahrain will also provide significant market access for U.S. service providers.
“Bahrain isn’t a large market, but the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement will indeed resultin real benefits for Americans, including Iowans. The HNI Corporation, an office furnituremanufacturer based in Muscatine, Iowa, looks forward to increased business in Bahrain on accountof this agreement. Lennox, which manufactures residential heating and cooling products inMarshalltown, Iowa, has a strong interest in the Bahrain market and anticipates growing sales therefollowing the implementation of the agreement. A small Iowa company that supplies halal foods andfood service equipment to restaurants, hotels, and distributors worldwide – the Midamar Corporationof Cedar Rapids – also stands to gain from this agreement.
“In addition, the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement will serve as a model for other tradeagreements that the United States will negotiate in the Middle East. In this way, the U.S.-BahrainFree Trade Agreement ultimately will lead to even further liberalization in the region. Thus, thebenefits that the HNI Corporation, Lennox, the Midamar Corporation, and other U.S. businesses willreceive from this agreement will be multiplied as other Arab countries adopt agreements that willbe modeled in large part upon our agreement with Bahrain. I’m glad to see the process move forwardwith today’s vote. I commend the President’s continued efforts to advance peace, democracy andfree trade in the Middle East. Today’s agreement is a good step forward.”
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