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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 6, 2000


I am pleased to transmit a legislative proposal to implement the Agreement between the United States of America and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the Establishment of a Free Trade Area. Also transmitted is a section-by-section analysis.

The U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) provides critical support for a pivotal regional partner for U.S. efforts in the Middle East peace process. Jordan has taken extraordinary steps on behalf of peace and has served as a moderating and progressive force in the region. This Agreement not only sends a strong and concrete message to Jordanians and Jordan's neighbors about the economic benefits of peace, but significantly contributes to stability throughout the region. This Agreement is the cap-stone of our economic partnership with Jordan, which has also included U.S.-Jordanian cooperation on Jordan's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), our joint Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, and our Bilateral Investment Treaty. This Agreement is a vote of confidence in Jordan's economic reform program, which should serve as a source of growth and opportunity for Jordanians in the coming years.

The U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement achieves the highest possible commitments from Jordan on behalf of U.S. business on key trade issues, providing significant and extensive liberalization across a wide spectrum of trade issues. For example, it will eliminate all tariffs on industrial goods and agricultural products within 10 years. The FTA covers all agriculture without exception. The Agreement will also eliminate commercial barriers to bilateral trade in services originating in the United States and Jordan. Specific liberalization has been achieved in many key services sectors, including energy distribution, convention, printing and publishing, courier, audiovisual, education, environmental, financial, health, tourism, and transport services.

In the area of intellectual property rights, the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement builds on the strong commitments Jordan made in acceding to the WTO. The provisions of the FTA incorporate the most up-to-date international standards for copyright protection, as well as protection for confidential test data for pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals and stepped-up commitments on enforcement. Among other things, Jordan has undertaken to ratify and implement the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty within 2 years.

The FTA also includes, for the first time ever in the text of a trade agreement, a set of substantive provisions on electronic commerce. Both countries agreed to seek to avoid imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions, imposing unnecessary barriers to market access for digitized products, and impeding the ability to deliver services through electronic means. These provisions also tie in with commitments in the services area that, taken together, aim at encouraging investment in new technologies and stimulating the innovative uses of networks to deliver products and services.

The FTA joins free trade and open markets with civic responsibilities. In this Agreement, the United States and Jordan affirm the importance of not relaxing labor or environmental laws in order to increase trade. It is important to note that the FTA does not require either country to adopt any new laws in these areas, but rather includes commitments that each country enforce its own labor and environmental laws.

The U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement will help advance the long-term U.S. objective of fostering greater Middle East regional economic integration in support of the establishment of a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace, while providing greater market access for U.S. goods, services, and investment. I urge the prompt and favorable consideration of this legislation.


                                         THE WHITE HOUSE,
                                         January 6, 2001.

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