Breaux, Grassley, McCain Introduce Trade Bill for Turkey
WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sen. John Breaux and Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley andJohn McCain today introduced bipartisan legislation to enhance economic growth and opportunityfor the Republic of Turkey.
“Turkey is essential for regional stability in the Middle East, and has contributed to the warefforts in Afghanistan,” Breaux said. “It’s time to allow Turkey to participate in the QualifiedIndustrial Zone program so the nation may bolster its economy by trading duty-free with the UnitedStates.”
Grassley said, “Turkey is a key ally of the United States. Its unwavering support for our jointefforts to fight terrorism is a testament to our strong friendship. We need to continue workingtogether to foster greater stability in the region. Enabling Turkey to participate in the QualifiedIndustrial Zone program can help attract foreign investment to Turkey and build greater regionalstability. The program will also enhance trade between Turkey and Israel, adding an economicdimension to their already strong and unique security relationship.”
McCain said, “Turkey’s deepening, and unique, strategic relationship with Israel, commandof the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, partnership in NATO, and support forU.S. policy toward Iraq place it in the first order of American allies. Turkish troops have foughtalongside U.S. forces from Korea to Kabul. As a Muslim nation and a secular democracy, Turkeyputs to rest the myth that America’s war on terror is a war on Islam. Turkey deserves our support,and I hope Congress will act swiftly on our legislation to advance Israeli-Turkish cooperation andAmerican interests in the region.”
The senators introduced the Turkish-Israeli Economic Enhancement Act, which would allowqualified products from Turkey to be eligible for duty-free entry into the United States under theQualified Industrial Zone program. Congress established the Qualified Industrial Zone program in1996 to facilitate economic cooperation between Israel, Egypt and Jordan. The program has helpedto foster greater economic cooperation among these three nations. Allowing Turkey to participatein the program will foster even greater economic growth and stability in the region.
The new Breaux-Grassley-McCain bill would amend Section 9(e)(1) of the United States-Israel Free Trade Area Implementation Act of 1985, as amended, (the “FTA Act”) by expanding thedefinition of “qualifying industrial zones” to include portions of the territory of Israel and Turkey.
Under the FTA Act, the President may proclaim duty-free benefits for certain products producedwithin the qualifying industrial zones. The Turkish-Israeli Economic Enhancement Act would allowthe President to proclaim duty-free benefits for certain products -- excluding certain import-sensitiveproducts -- of qualifying industrial zones established jointly by Israel and Turkey. The Turkish-Israeli Economic Enhancement Act would foster cooperation between Israel and Turkey and helppromote economic growth, opportunity and development in Turkey, a vital security partner in NATOand a key ally in the war against terrorism.
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