G'Day! US, Australia FTA is a Go
Pact is the first free trade agreement between the US and a developed country since 1988
WASHINGTON, DC - 05/06/04 - The US-Australia Free Trade Agreement will be signed on May 18 in Washington.
US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick will reportedly sign on behalf of the US with Australia's Minister of Trade Mark Vaile signing on behalf of his country.
The agreement, negotiated over the course of nearly a year, was concluded in early February.
The President notified Congress of his intent to enter into the agreement five days later. Under the Trade Act of 2002, the earliest date on which the agreement could be signed is May 14.
On the US side, the agreement will be submitted to Congress for approval when signed.
In 2002, Australia was the US' 13th largest single-country export market for goods. Two-way annual goods and services trade is roughly $28 billion, with two-way foreign direct investment totaling $60 billion.
Australia purchases more goods from the US than from any other country, and the US enjoys a bilateral goods and services trade surplus of $9 billion.
The country is a key export market for important US manufacturing sectors such as aircraft, autos and auto parts, machinery, computers and electronic products, chemicals, and wood and paper products.
Each of the fifty US states exports to Australia, while the country is among the top 25 export destinations for 48 of the 50 states. The leading states exporting to Australia are California, Washington, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
The US has completed FTA's with eight countries - Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Australia and Morocco - over? the past six months.
New and pending FTA partners, taken together, would constitute America's third largest export market and the sixth largest economy in the world.
In addition, within the past several weeks, the US and Panama conducted the first round of free trade negotiations between the two countries, and by the end of the month Washington will begin the fifth round of negotiations with the five SACU countries - Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Namibia.
FTA negotiations are expected to begin with Colombia and Thailand by the end of the summer.
The US currently has free trade agreements with Israel, Canada and Mexico (NAFTA), Jordan, Chile and Singapore.
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