US Coalition of Service Industries Press Release
May 27, 2004
CSI Welcomes US-Bahrain FTA
(Washington, DC) The Coalition of Service Industries (CSI) today welcomed the conclusion of negotiations on the US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The agreement will open up new opportunities for US suppliers in audio-visual, express delivery, computer and related, insurance and other financial services, professional services, telecommunications, and other key sectors.
“This appears to be a high-standard agreement, as a result of which US services companies will be much better positioned to pursue commercial opportunities in Bahrain, and make a positive contribution to that country’s economic growth and development.” said Robert Vastine, President of CSI. “Moreover, it has important precedent value as we lay the groundwork for future free trade agreement negotiations with other countries in the Middle East.”
Vastine said that the FTA “adopts the most far-reaching approach to services liberalization - the so-called ‘negative list’ approach.” He explained that, “under a negative list approach, all services sectors in Bahrain will be open to US participation unless they are specifically restricted.”
“Services continue to be the engine of job creation in the United States, and opening up foreign markets to US suppliers is a high priority,” Vastine added, noting that 1.1 million US service sector jobs were created between April 2003 - April 2004. US services jobs pay an average of $45,410. Services accounted for 77% of US private sector GDP in 2002, and 80% of US private sector employment. Between 1993 and 2003, services added 17 million new US jobs.
For information, visit the CSI web site at http://www.uscsi.org.
CSI is the leading business organization dedicated to reducing barriers to U.S. services exports and mobilizing support for domestic U.S. policies, including tax policies, which enhance the global competitiveness of its members. CSI was formed in 1982 to ensure that U.S. trade in services would become a central goal of U.S. trade policy and trade negotiations. It played a major role in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and in the advocacy effort leading to the 1997 World Trade Organization (WTO) Basic Telecommunications and Financial Services Agreements. CSI’s knowledge of the process of services trade negotiations, its ties to the WTO and its network of relationships with governments and industry in other countries are unmatched. For a complete list of CSI members, visit our website at www.uscsi.org.