March 01,2000

Roth Convenes Informal Meeting of Trade Bill Conferees

WASHINGTON -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) today brought together key House and Senate members in an effort to move the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act conference forward. Roth issued the following statement after the meeting:

"I called for this informal members' meeting to see if we could make progress toward conference on H.R. 434. We had a very productive discussion of the Senate and House approaches to the legislation. I thought there was a tremendous amount of agreement in the room for moving ahead with this legislation. Both sides are intent upon getting a sound bill done as soon as we can. We have strong support from the leadership in both houses to do just that."

"As I said on the floor many times during the lengthy Senate debate prior to passage, the bill can create a win-win opportunity for Africa and the Caribbean and for workers and manufacturers in the United States by expanding U.S. exports and increasing U.S. jobs. For example, while expanding trade with the region, the Senate bill would also benefit the United States to the tune of 100,000 new jobs and an additional $2 billion in exports of U.S. textile products ."

"I look forward to meeting again with my colleagues to narrow the differences between the Senate and House bills that would serve the interests of Africa, the Caribbean and U.S. workers. I hope that the House will make the decision to appoint conferees in the very near future and that we can move the conference report to final passage and signature by the President at the earliest opportunity."