Free Trade Agreement with the US likely to be delayed further

Emirates Today | 30 October 2007

Free Trade Agreement with the US likely to be delayed further

By Nissar Hoath

A top United States official on a two-day visit to the UAE has indicated the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries is likely to be delayed further.

David McCormick, Undersecretary for International Affairs at the US Department of Treasury, said yesterday the FTA was unlikely to be signed soon due to the absence of a Trade Promotion Authority to discuss it.

"At the current moment we know the Trade Promotion Authority expired in summer this year. So without Congress approving the next round of the Trade Promotion Authority, we will be unable to restart negotiations with the UAE during this administration," the official said at a press conference held at the US embassy yesterday.

"We hope Congress will ultimately renew the Trade Promotion Authority. It is an important priority now for any president in terms of advancing the trade agenda," McCormick added.

Responding to concerns about investments from the Gulf Co-operation Council region following the Dubai Ports World issue earlier this year, the official said the US administration continued to believe that the country offered the deepest, most liq uid and extremely attractive capital markets in the world.

Meanwhile, the visiting US undersecretary yesterday met Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, the UAE Minister of Economy.

The two officials focused their talks on economic relations, UAE-US joint investment ventures and FTA between the two countries that is yet to be signed.

According to Emirates News Agency (Wam), Sheikha Lubna told McCormick that current investment environment in terms of legislations and opportunities was conducive to attracting more US capital to the UAE.

"The United States official commended the strong UAEUS relations in several fields, especially the economic sectors, and stressed the importance of steadily developing bilateral relations to catch up with the vibrant growth of economies of the two friendly countries," the news agency reported.

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source: Zawya