Thursday, September 16, 2004

PR New York -- US Bahrain Free Trade Agreement signing 9-22-04

Historic Free Trade Agreement Celebration in New York City
September 16, 2004
CONTACT: Nino Kader (202) 486-1185

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday September 22nd thecelebration of the historic signing of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (USBFTA) will take place at the NewYork Palace Hotel with an elaborate luncheon in the VillardRoom from 11:30 – 2:30pm.

Reservations -

In attendance will be envoys from the United States TradeRepresentative, dignitaries from the Kingdom of Bahrain,top executives of several Fortune 100 corporations and themedia.

This Free Trade Agreement comes three years after 9/11 andwill help, "promote the President’s initiative to advanceeconomic reforms and openness in the Middle East and thePersian Gulf moving us closer to the creation of a MiddleEast Free Trade Area," according to Robert Zoellick, U.S.Trade Representative who signed the agreement at a formalceremony earlier this week in Washington."

The celebratory day—September 22, 2004—will be anopportunity for corporations from both countries tosolidify—or, in some cases, establish—their presence asleaders of a new era of business between Bahrain and theUnited States," added Dr. Naser Al Belooshi, EconomicRepresentative of the Kingdom of Bahrain.The private sector has also shown its support for thisagreement with Citigroup, Alcoa, HP, ExxonMobil and otherssponsoring the luncheon event.

The U.S. Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, upon ratification byCongress, will result in an immediate lifting of duties on100 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial products and 81percent of U.S. agricultural exports.

U.S. exports toBahrain totaled more than half a billion dollars last year.Bahrain will receive duty-free access for 96 percent of itsindustrial and agricultural exports to the U.S. and willenjoy Most Favored Nation treatment.

Total U.S.-Bahraintrade was $887 million in 2003.The agreement will result in the creation of new jobs andwill expand opportunities for US exports of "aircraft,machinery, vehicles, pharmaceutical and agriculturalproducts." It also covers key service and financial sectorsas well as intellectual property rights protections.Notably, Bahrain will open its services market wider thanany previous Free Trade Agreement partner.

The deal is the "result of a strong commitment by thepolitical leadership in both countries to further developthe two nations’ close relations," said Bahrain’s NationalEconomy Minister Abdulla Saif.

He went on to say that thisagreement, "will benefit the people of America andBahrain."The history of Bahraini-U.S. friendship extends back morethan one hundred years. Americans founded the firsthospital in Bahrain in 1893 and established the firstAmerican school there in 1911.

Today, the two countriescooperate closely in economic, financial, political,defense and security matters. Bahrain is widely known asthe "Gateway to the Gulf" due to its strategic location andstatus as the financial center of the Middle East.

For a detailed event program and to reserve a seat please RSVP no later than September 17th at
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