March 11,2004

Sen. Baucus Traveling to Asia Next Week, Focusing on Opening Markets and Building Trade Opportunities

Trip includes Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, and Bangkok

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) U.S. Senator Max Baucus will begin a week-long tour of Asia on Monday, March 15 to explore ways to further open markets and expand trade opportunities for U.S. businesses.

"I have been a long-time believer of the success and benefits that can be achieved through international trade," Baucus said. "Asia could provide America with a wealth of trading opportunities, but I don't feel that this administration has focused significantly on that region. Through meetings with government and business community leaders in Asia, I will work to even further raise the profile of the potential of the region."

Baucus will begin his trip in Tokyo, Japan, meeting with top government officials and the Keidanren -- the equivalent of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He plans to address the issue of the Japanese ban on imports of U.S. beef and urge Japan to work with the United States to make progress in the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations.

Following Japan, Baucus will spend two days in China, in Beijing and Shanghai, meeting with government officials and pressing China to meet their WTO obligations, particularly intellectual property rights, and will urge the country to take serious steps toward currency reform. Baucus will also be speaking to University students in Beijing. While in Shanghai, Baucus will be giving a speech at the World Trade Organization Institute.

Baucus will then travel to Bangkok, Thailand to meet with government leaders. Baucus's meetings in Thailand will focus on the upcoming negotiations for a U.S.-Thailand Free Trade Agreement, which are scheduled to begin in the next several months. Baucus believes that an FTA with Thailand will provide significant commercial opportunities for both countries and will be working closely on the issue as negotiations move forward.

Members of the business and agriculture community from Montana and across the nation will join Baucus on his Asia tour.

Baucus Preliminary Asia Schedule - Subject to Change
Monday, March 15 - TOKYO
Meeting with Keidanren (Japanese Chamber of Commerce)
Meetings with Japanese Government Officials
2:30p.m. (1:30 a.m. Monday EST) Approximate: Press Roundtable
11 p.m. (10 a.m. Monday EST) Press Conference Call to U.S. Reporters

Tuesday, March 16 - BEIJING
Meetings with Chinese Government Officials
Visit to Peking University to meet with students

Wednesday, March 17 - BEIJING/SHANGHAI
Continued Meetings with Chinese Government Officials
Meeting with Agriculture Importers
Visit to Tiananmen Square
Arrive Shanghai
Meeting with Mayor of Shanghai

Thursday, March 18 - SHANGHAI
Meeting with Shanghai Government Officials
Speech at World Trade Organization Institute

Friday, March 19 - BANGKOK
Meetings with Government Officials
11 p.m. (11 a.m. Friday EST) Press Conference Call to U.S. Reporters