July 21,2004

Baucus Applauds Passage of the U.S.--Morocco Free Trade Agreement

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, applauded the passage of the bill implementing the U.S.--Morocco Free Trade Agreement after the Senate overwhelmingly passed the legislation with a final vote of 85-13. Baucus praised the agreement for bringing government and economic reforms to developing countries.

“I’m pleased the Senate voted so strongly in favor of the Morocco agreement,” Baucus said. “It will send a positive signal to developing countries around the world that if they reform and open up their economies, they can increase economic relations with the United States and create new opportunities for their citizens.”

Baucus also emphad the importance of new standards for intellectual property, market access, and agriculture found in the agreement that will enhance trade relations between Morocco and the United States.

“I never had any doubt the Senate would approve the Morocco agreement, but I was uncertain whether we could get it done before the summer recess. By approving the Morocco agreement in July, we honor our longstanding alliance with Morocco, sealed 217 years ago this past July 18 with a Treaty of Peace and Friendship that began the longest unbroken treaty relationship in U.S. history.”

The U.S.-Morocco Free Trade agreement will travel to President Bush’s desk for final approval.

Senator Baucus’s floor statement follows:

Floor Statement of U.S. Senator Max Baucus

Regarding the U.S.--Morocco Free Trade Agreement

“Mr. President, I spoke yesterday about the Morocco free trade agreement and its benefits for both the United States and Morocco.I hope and expect that when we vote on the Morocco implementing bill in the next half hour or so, the bill will pass by an overwhelming margin.

That is a fitting way to cap a busy month on trade and head into the summer recess.

As I look back at the accomplishments on trade since the beginning of the year, I’m pleased at how much we have done. It would be considered a full plate in any year, but in an election year, it is especially gratifying to have achieved so much.

We passed the JOBS Bill, a complex tax measure that will help create jobs in America and bring the United States into compliance with the WTO. Thatbill passed the Senate overwhelmingly, with 92 votes.

We extended and enhanced an important trade and development program for Africa – the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act – through a unanimous vote.

We created a different trade and development program for Haiti, also through a unanimous vote. And of course, just last week, we passed the Australiafree trade agreement implementing bill with 80 votes. It has been a busy year.

I’m heartened by the strong votes all these measures attracted. No victory is ever easy. They are hard fought by people working every day to do the right thing. I want to congratulate Senator Grassley and his staff for their leadership, and Ambassador Zoellick and his excellent negotiating team for all their hard work.

As I look ahead, there will be some difficult issues to confront. I believe we have more work to do to rebuild a strong consensus on trade. We could do better on both the substance of trade agreements and on the process of considering them.

I also believe we should be devoting more of our resources toward enforcing trade agreements we already have. But today, I would like to focus on our successes – on all we have already accomplished, and on what we are about to do.

When we vote to approve the Morocco legislation, we will be solidifying our oldest diplomatic relationship in the world.

We will be giving reform-minded governments in developing countries around the world incentive to redouble their efforts to modernize their economies.

We will also be setting a new standard for agreements with developing countries in a variety of important areas. These include intellectual property,market access, and even agriculture.

The Morocco agreement is a good agreement. I urge my colleagues to vote for it.