2003 Adopted Resolutions
71st Annual Meeting
Denver

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SUPPORT FOR THE U.S.-AUSTRALIAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

WHEREAS, President George W. Bush announced in November 2002 the Administration's intention to begin negotiations with Australia of a Free Trade Agreement, and those negotiations commenced in March 2003; and

WHEREAS, the United States and Australia share a long and enduring friendship, a strong economic partnership, and have been close strategic allies for more than half a century; and

WHEREAS, Australia is the fastest-growing economy in the OECD and 15th-largest in the world; and

WHEREAS, trade liberalization provides benefits to localities in the form of increased employment and revenues; and

WHEREAS, the United States and Australia share a common objective of global free trade and market liberalization; and

WHEREAS, the United States' trade and investment with Australia has grown rapidly over the last five years and is currently valued at around $28 billion annually; and

WHEREAS, Australia is the 13th largest export market for the United States for which the United States has a $6.6 billion merchandise trade surplus -- our second largest; and

WHEREAS, The United States is the largest source of foreign investment in Australia with assets worth $117 billion, and Australia is the eighth largest foreign investor in the United States with assets worth $69 billion; and

WHEREAS, more than 250 significant U.S. businesses have joined a coalition in support of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the United States; and

WHEREAS, Australian companies in the United States provide jobs directly to more than 83,000 Americans, and indirectly to countless others; and

WHEREAS, the United States and Australia share the ambitious goal of establishing open global markets for agricultural products in the WTO negotiations, acknowledging that the negotiation of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Australia will include sensitive agricultural issues,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors supports the speedy negotiation and passage of the U.S.-Australian Free Trade Agreement and hereby affirms to all members of the United States Congress its strong endorsement of such an agreement.