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In May 2004, after just four months of talks, US and Bahraini trade negotiators concluded a free trade agreement between the two countries. The agreement was signed by US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Bahrain’s Minister of Finance and National Economy, Abdulla Hassan Saif, in September 2004.

Ratification and entry into force was to come after Bahrain assured Washington that it "no longer supports a boycott of Israeli goods".

The FTA came into force on 1 August 2006. Two years later, the government claimed that the best impacts of the FTA were boosting Bahrain’s image in the US and speeding up domestic policy changes at home, while critics pointed to the country’s rapidly deteriorating trade surplus with the US. The AFL-CIO has called on the US Administration to withdraw from the agreement over human rights concerns and the mass dismissals of many public sector workers.

last update: May 2012

End the Saudi-Bahrain FTA row
As a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizen, it is extremely disappointing to note that the controversy surrounding Saudi Arabia’s objections to the Bahrain-US free trade agreement (FTA) is threatening the future of the GCC economic integration.
Saudi Arabia says it will impose legal measures against unilateral free trade agreements
Saudi Finance Minister Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf said the Kingdom will be forced to take measures, including legal action, to protect its interests from being harmed by unilateral free trade agreements concluded by Gulf Cooperation Council states with other countries.
Saudis threaten action over US-Bahrain FTA deal
Saudi Arabia threatened yesterday to impose customs duties on foreign goods imported duty-free through Gulf Arab countries, intensifying a Saudi-Bahraini row over a trade agreement with the United States.
US-Bahrain trade deal exposes GCC chinks
The US-Bahrain deal undermines the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) as a collective body.
‘We will discuss FTA with our neighbors’
Bahrain once again defended its free trade agreement with the United States.
New FTA website to be created
A new website dedicated to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Bahrain and the US is being created by the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Drop FTA with US, GCC tells Bahrain
Gulf Arab states angered by Bahrain’s decision to sign up to a free trade pact with the United States say it should back away from the deal and honour a regional agreement.
Bahrein: FTA faces delay
A Free Trade Agreement between Bahrain and the US was signed last month but will not come into effect until it has been ratified by the US Congress, now in recess for the presidential election.
US-Bahrein FTA: Potential Economywide and Selected Sectoral Effects
An assessment by the US International Trade Commission of projected impacts of the US-Bahrein FTA on the US.
’FTA will help Thai businessmen enter US market’
The signing of Bahrain-US free trade agreement (FTA) will offer numerous opportunities to the businessmen of Thailand to reach the huge US market by using Bahrain as a base in the region, the Minister of Commerce, Ali Saleh Al Saleh said yesterday, writes Mehmood Rafique.