Senate OKs Trade Accord; Morocco Pact Goes to House

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 22, 2004 | Go to article overview

Senate OKs Trade Accord; Morocco Pact Goes to House


Byline: Jeffrey Sparshott, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Senate yesterday easily approved the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement and the House is expected to follow suit as soon as today, allowing the North African nation to join only seven other countries with such a pact.

The Senate voted 85-13 in favor of the agreement.

The vote marks the second time in two weeks the Bush administration has scored a free-trade victory and is the fourth piece of major trade legislation to pass since last month.

"Each of these bills passed in an election year, a year in which many pundits argued that nothing would get done," said Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican.

Lawmakers last week approved the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement, last month signed off on a bill to help African nations boost exports to the United States, and recently voted to roll back export subsidies deemed illegal by the World Trade Organization.

Last year the Bush administration won approval for free-trade agreements with Singapore and Chile."Free trade is on offense, and the cause of open markets is now advancing on all fronts," U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick said after yesterday's Senate action.

The administration has struggled to win support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement, a pact with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

Mr. Zoellick completed negotiations earlier this year but Democrats have vowed to block approval, saying the countries lack adequate protection for workers and the environment.

Broader agreements also have stalled, including the 34-nation Free Trade Area of the Americas and 147-nation talks at the World Trade Organization. …

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