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9/8/03 - U.S. SUPPORTS FREE TRADE - 2003-09-09

The United States supports free trade because as President George W. Bush said, “a world that trades in freedom will grow in prosperity and in security”:

“For developing nations, free trade tied to economic reform has helped to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. The growth of economic freedom and ownership in developing countries creates the habits of liberty and creates the pressure for democracy and political reform. Economic integration through trade can also foster political cooperation by promoting peace between nations. As free trade expands across the earth, the realm of human freedom expands with it.”

On September 3rd, President Bush signed legislation to implement free trade agreements with Chile and Singapore. President Bush said that the free trade agreement with Chile is the first ever between the U.S. and a South American country:

“For decades, Chile has proven the power of open trade and sound policies. It has become one of the strongest economies in the developing world. By establishing free trade with the world’s largest economy [the U.S.], Chile will have the opportunity to advance even further and to help make the entire region more prosperous.”

The agreement between the U.S. and Singapore is the first between the U.S. and an Asia-Pacific Country. Singapore, said President Bush, “is already America’s twelfth largest trading partner”:

“This agreement will increase access to Singapore’s dynamic markets for America’s exporters and service providers and investors. The agreement contains state of the art protections for Internet commerce and intellectual property that will help drive growth and innovation in our technology sectors. There are also strong labor and environmental protections in our agreement with Singapore.”

The agreements with Chile and Singapore are the first steps. Negotiations are also under way with other countries -- including Australia, Morocco, five nations in Central America, and members of the Southern African Customs Union. As President Bush put it, “The spread of free trade reflects [America’s] convictions. We believe in the dignity of every human being.”