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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 10, 1999


                 African Growth and Opportunity Act and
                 Caribbean Basin Initiative Enhancement

We welcome the strong bipartisan support for action today in the House Ways and Means Committee on the African Growth and Opportunity Act H.R. 434 and on the Caribbean Basin Initiative Enhancement H.R. 984.

African Growth and Opportunity Act

The United States has a vital stake in a stable and prosperous Africa, to build a strong global economy and to fight against threats to our mutual interests -- such as terrorism, narcotics, and disease. By broadening market access for African and American exporters, expanding technical assistance, and spurring growth and investment in Africa, this bill will provide opportunities and jobs for both African and American workers. We urge the House leadership to move this bill quickly to a vote on the floor, and look forward to working closely with the Senate to enact this landmark legislation soon.

Caribbean Basin Initiative Enhancement

The Committee action is a constructive step toward enhancing the Caribbean Basin Initiative. Providing CBI trade benefits to Caribbean Basin nations over the last sixteen years has yielded significant economic advances for the region and benefits for the United States. CBI enhancement can serve as a bridge to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), which the CBI countries and we are committed to concluding by 2005. The FTAA will help ensure the continued economic expansion of the United States and our trading partners by further opening markets in our hemisphere. The Administration will work with House and Senate members to make changes on textiles and worker rights' provisions to enhance the prospects for passage of CBI enhancement this year.

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