Washington DC – The National Foreign Trade Council strongly endorsed a U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement as representatives of the two nations met today to begin bilateral negotiations.
“Australia has always been a strong ally of the United States. By strengthening our economic bond through stronger trade ties, we will benefit both nations,” said Bill Reinsch , President of the National Foreign Trade Council.
While two-way trade has grown significantly between the U.S. and Australia in the past decade, totaling more than $19 billion in 2001, Reinsch acknowledged that the negotiators would be addressing several tough issues, agriculture being foremost among them.
In addition to agriculture, U.S. priorities for the negotiations include the elimination of high tariffs on industrial goods, improved protection of intellectual property rights, and the elimination of restrictions that make it difficult for U.S. service providers to operate in the Australian market.
“The United States and Australia have a strong history of cooperation, both bilaterally and within the WTO. The U.S.-Australia FTA would further strengthen our alliance, greatly benefit the U.S. economy, and help to promote further global trade liberalization,” Reinsch concluded.