May 03,2000

Roth Cheers Agreement Benefiting Africa and Caribbean

WASHINGTON -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) today released the following statement regarding agreement on a Conference Report for the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act-Caribbean Basin Initiative:

"This agreement is about economic opportunity -- for the people of Africa, the people of the Caribbean and for the American people.

"This legislation opens new avenues for trade, which will create jobs and strengthen the economies of all the countries involved. The most important thing that we as Americans can offer our partners in Africa and the Caribbean is the opportunity to establish a foundation for economic growth and future prosperity.

"As I said on the Senate floor when we passed this legislation, this bill is a 'win-win' outcome for American firms and workers as well as our trading partners in Africa and the Caribbean. The agreement preserves the opportunities for American firms and workers that we sought to create, while affording new economic opportunities for some of the poorest countries in the world. Passage of the conference report would represent a significant achievement and would set a positive precedent for trade votes to come.

"I want to note that I am very disappointed that the Conference Report does not include Senate provisions that would have closed two corporate tax shelters. This is a lost opportunity.

"I would also like to note my disappointment that we were unable to agree on a way to address the issue of providing AIDS drugs for Africa. But I would also note that other committees are working to address this issue, allowing Congress the opportunity to take an active role in ensuring that the United States makes a significant contribution to combating the AIDS crisis.

"Any conference agreement is a compromise and while we did not achieve all I might have hoped, there is no doubt that this agreement is a solid one."