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Ronald Reagan Administration: Message to Congress Transmitting the Free Trade Area Agreement

(April 29, 1985)

To the Congress of the United States:

I am pleased to transmit to you, pursuant to section 102 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2112(e)(2)), the text of the Agreement on the Establishment of a Free Trade Area between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Israel entered into in Washington on April 22, 1985.

This historic Agreement was negotiated under the terms of Title IV of the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984 (P.L. 98 - 573) and provides for the creation of a Free Trade Area between the United States and Israel in order to strengthen and develop the two nations' economic relations and to further the friendship between them.

With the Agreement I am transmitting the proposed United States-Israel Free Trade Area Implementation Act to be considered by the Congress in accordance with the procedures of section 151 of the Trade Act of 1974; and a statement of administrative action that is proposed to implement the Agreement. Section 102 also requires a statement of reasons, first, as to how the Agreement serves the interest of United States commerce, and second, as to why the implementing bill and proposed administrative action is required or appropriate to carry it out. The second of these requirements is met by the statement of administrative action. This letter shall meet the first.

The signing of this Agreement on April 22, 1985 marked the end of lengthy negotiations with Israel. The passage of the proposed implementing legislation, I believe, will mark the beginning of a strong new trading relationship with our friends in Israel. This Agreement, the first of its kind for the United States, provides for the elimination of substantially all the trade barriers between the United States and Israel and will be instrumental in the development of bilateral trade for our mutual benefit.

This Agreement serves the interests of United States commerce because it will create significant expansion of our trade with Israel. For the United States, the Agreement will provide duty free access to an $8 billion market in which we currently face relatively high duties and certain non-tariff barriers and in which we face a tariff disparity resulting from an Israeli agreement with the European Community. This Agreement will ensure that American firms can compete fairly and competitively in the Israeli market.

I would like, in closing, to express my appreciation for the close cooperation between the Congress and the Administration that has been the hallmark of our joint effort to make the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Area a reality. Our success in this undertaking should be a matter of pride for us all and a model for future trade initiatives.

Ronald Reagan

Sources: Public Papers of the Presidents, Ronald Reagan, 1982