Gulf Daily News, Bahrain
13 December 2004
New FTA website to be created
MANAMA: 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, it was revealed yesterday.
It is part of an awareness campaign launched by the chamber to promote the benefits of the FTA and is in addition to another site set up by the Finance and National Economy Ministry.
The awareness campaign includes a series of conferences and seminars dedicated to the topic, as well as information booklets that will be published in both Arabic and English, according to a statement by chamber second deputy chairman Dr Essam Fakhro yesterday.
A Bahraini business delegation is due to visit the US in preparation for the activation of the FTA, which is expected to come into effect in the New Year, while the chamber has also proposed the formation of an FTA unit.
Negotiations are already underway with the US Embassy to make it a joint project - allowing the US government to speak directly to businessmen and investors in Bahrain.
Meanwhile, the FTA unit - if it gets the go ahead from an FTA committee headed by Finance and National Economy Minister Abdulla Saif - would be responsible for raising awareness and highlighting trade and investment opportunities.
The US Congress is due to vote as early as February on the FTA with Bahrain, which is seen as the first stepping stone in creating a free trade area covering the entire Middle East over the next decade.