PPI Middle East Forum Rescheduled: Senators Baucus and McCain to Speak on Sept. 30
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- On Tuesday, September 30, Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont) will speak at a
Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) event about his efforts to expand trade opportunities with the countries
of the Middle East by creating a trade preference program that would take effect in the near future.
The PPI event was originally scheduled for Thursday, September 18, but was postponed due to
Earlier this year, Baucus introduced the Middle East Trade and Engagement Act of 2003 with
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who will also speak at the PPI event. The legislation extends dutyfree
access to the U.S. market for goods from countries in the Middle East.
Modeled on successful existing programs for sub-Saharan Africa and the Andean region, the
Middle East Trade and Engagement Act is intended to help diversify and improve the economies of the
Middle East and provide jobs for the rapidly growing population in those countries. Middle Eastern
countries that meet certain criteria, such as having a market-based economy and supporting the U.S.
war on terrorism, are eligible to export certain goods to the United States tariff free.
“This important legislation that Senator McCain and I are working on will help to build
diplomatic bridge s with the Middle East through increased trade opportunities," Baucus said.
"Increased trade will be vital in the coming months and years as we work to strengthen our relationship
with the Iraqi people and help them rebuild their country."
While in Cancun at the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, Baucus had the
opportunity to discuss the benefits of the Middle East Trade and Engagement Act of 2003 with trade
ministers from Middle Eastern countries.
“Throughout the discussions with a number of Middle East trade ministers, it became even clearer
how much both the U.S. and the Middle East have to benefit from opening up trade opportunities as soon
as possible," Baucus added.
President Bush has proposed a Middle East trade initiative that proposes creating a Middle East
free trade area by 2013. Although Senator Baucus fully supports this goal, the Senator believes the
United States needs a comprehensive policy to encourage economic reform and development in the
Middle East in the short term.
Event: PPI Forum: A New Silk Road: Trade in America’s Relationship with the Muslim World
Date: Tuesday, September 30, 2003, 8:30 a.m.-11a.m.; Baucus to speak at 9a.m.
Location: 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building
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