U.S., Morocco Launch Free-Trade Negotiations

By John S. McClenahen Even as it prepares for a possible war against Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian situation remains tense, the Bush administration has opened free-trade talks with the Middle Eastern nation of Morocco. The first round of negotiations was held in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21. Subsequent talks are slated to alternate between Morocco and the U.S., with a goal of completing the negotiations by the end of this year. The pact is expected to eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers in goods, services, agriculture and investment. The U.S. annually exports about $475 million worth of goods to Morocco, including aircraft, machinery and corn. Two other U.S. free-trade agreements -- one with Chile, the other with Singapore -- are before Congress for its consideration. And the Bush administration is continuing with talks aimed at creating a Free Trade Area of the Americas by 2005.

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