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Built Upon Shifting Sands - Warning Signs for the United States' Middle East Free Trade Area Strategy

Price, David (2008). Built Upon Shifting Sands - Warning Signs for the United States' Middle East Free Trade Area Strategy. International Review of Business Research Papers,4(2):231-242.

Document type: Journal Article

IRMA ID 77487793xPUB21
Title Built Upon Shifting Sands - Warning Signs for the United States' Middle East Free Trade Area Strategy
Author Price, David
Journal Name International Review of Business Research Papers
Publication Date 2008
Volume Number 4
Issue Number 2
ISSN 1832-9543   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 231
End Page 242
Total Pages 12
Publisher World Business Institute
Field of Research 1501 - Accounting, Auditing and Accountability
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Since 2003, the United States has been actively pursuing the creation of a Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) as part of its post-9/11 broader strategy to use bilateral trade agreements and regional reform as weapons against global terrorism. While the strategy has had some early successes – notably with the completion installation of lesser bilateral trade and investment protection treaties with a number of Middle East countries, and free trade agreements (FTAs) with Jordan, Bahrain and Oman – it now threatens to stall on a number of counts. FTA negotiations between the United States and the UAE, which commenced at the same time as the Oman negotiations have now ground to a halt. Qatar and Kuwait, which had shown a willingness to commence discussions soon after the completion of the Oman FTA, have since indicated that they now are in no hurry to enter into FTAs. Domestically, the MEFTA strategy has encountered further problems as the balance of power in Congress shifts from the Republicans to the Democrats. The growing opposition in Congress to the President’s Middle East policies has caused the non-renewal of the Administration’s Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which provided the framework for ‘fast-track’ Congressional approval process for the Administration’s bilateral trade agreements. The TPA expired on 1 July 2007, and even at this late stage there is uncertainty as to whether Congress will belatedly renew it at least until the end of the President’s final term. As the Bush Presidency enters the winter of its final term, the future of the MEFTA strategy and the consequent bilateral trade agreements in the Middle East are experiencing the stagnation that can mark the administration of an outgoing president.
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Created: Fri, 12 Sep 2008, 08:35:25 CST by Administrator