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United States-Morocco Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act

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Location: Washington, DC


UNITED STATES-MOROCCO FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACT -- (House of Representatives - July 22, 2004)

Mr. THOMAS. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 738, I call up the bill (H.R. 4842) to implement the United States-Morocco Free Trade Agreement, and ask for its immediate consideration.

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time. I will just briefly pause and say, having a surplus with Morocco actually helps us with our trade deficit surplus figure because it adds to the surplus side of it.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pause for a moment and thank those who made this possible. I would like to thank those negotiators at the U.S. Trade Representative who worked long and hard hours with the Moroccans to make this agreement possible. I would like to thank our committee chairman, the gentleman from California (Mr. Thomas); our subcommittee chairman, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Crane); and also I would like to thank the gentlewoman from Washington (Ms. Dunn), who spearheaded this through committee and here in Congress. This is a great product. This is a great thing.

Now, specifically, why is this beneficial to our constituents? Why is this good for America?

Well, number one, manufacturing, a very important sector to our economy especially in my home State of Wisconsin. This is a great deal for manufacturing. This gets rid of the tariffs on our manufacturing goods going to Morocco.
Number two, and even more important, agriculture. For every $1 of imports we take from Morocco in imports, we export $10.

This is a great agreement for agriculture, especially since the Europeans, who enjoy a 50 percent higher trade flow advantage with Morocco than we have at the present time, do not have an agreement with Morocco on agriculture. Let me say it another way. Morocco and Europe trade a lot with each other, 50 percent more than we do with Morocco. That is going to change with this agreement, thankfully; but the Europeans do not have an agriculture agreement with Morocco. We will, and that means we will sell even more agricultural products to Morocco. That is a great thing.

We have a trade surplus with Morocco. They are a great trading partner. This is good for jobs. It is good for manufacturing. It is good for agriculture; but Mr. Speaker, there is a broader vision here. There is a broader purpose for all of this.

This is part of the President's MEFTI plan. This is part of the Middle Eastern Free Trade Initiative. What is that initiative? That initiative is to recognize we need to play a constructive role in the Middle East; that in the war on terror, the most important aspect, long-term vision of that war on terror is improving our understanding and our relations with moderate Muslim countries, with the Arab world. This accomplishes this.

We have 10 TIFAs in place, 10 trade and investment framework agreements in place, throughout the Gulf, throughout Northern Africa, to engage in discussion and dialogue with those countries to help bring them up to the rules of democracy, rules of free enterprise, enforceable contracts, the rule of law, women's right to vote, open societies.

This is what these trade agreements produce. So not only do we produce trade agreements like this Moroccan agreement, which is good for jobs in America, we produce political reforms by engaging in a partnership with those in the Middle East who want democracy and want openness. Because of these agreements and because of the role we play in the world, we serve as a catalyst to getting these countries to open their societies.

Here is one example with the Moroccan agreement. Because of this trade agreement, Morocco passed a great piece of legislation in their constitution and their law for labor standards. They have been trying to do this for 20 years. For 20 years labor groups in Morocco have been trying to get the right to collectively bargain, a shorter workweek, better laws to protect against child labor. Those things are the law of the land in Morocco because of this agreement.

So what we are doing with this broad initiative, through trade investment framework agreements, which lead to these free trade agreements like we have with Jordan and Bahrain and now Morocco, what this accomplishes is bringing these nations into a partnership of democracy, of freedom, of openness and prosperity. That is how we end up improving the lives of people in the Middle East, and that at the end of the day, and I am going to make this connection, is how we make sure that young men and women who are susceptible to the likes of al-Qaeda, who grow up in tyrannical countries with lives where they have no hope and no place to put their creative energies and turn to the likes of al-Qaeda, now have hope in the countries where they did not have them before.

Now young people in these countries who are opening up their systems, bringing democracy, bringing open societies, they have hope. They have a place to channel their energies. This will be one if we improve our relationship, our cultural understanding, our dialogue, and, yes, our trade with these countries.

The Moroccan trade agreement is a perfect example of this vision. I urge Members to pass this trade agreement. It is good for jobs, it is good for Americans, it is good for Moroccans, and it is good for our foreign policy in the Middle East. That is a very, very important goal.

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