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USTR mulls FTA talks with Egypt, S Korea, Malaysia, Swiss

Dow Jones Newswires

USTR Mulls FTA Talks With Egypt, S Korea, Malaysia, Swiss

By Elizabeth Price

9 January 2006

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The Bush administration is considering free-trade negotiations with Egypt, South Korea, Malaysia, and Switzerland, the U.S. Trade Representative’s top agriculture trade negotiator said Monday.

"These countries represent significant markets for U.S. agricultural products with 2004 agricultural exports totaling about $4.0 billion," U.S. Agriculture Negotiator Richard Crowder said in a prepared speech to be delivered before the American Farm Bureau Federation. "Korea alone is the United State’s fifth largest export market for agricultural products."

The USTR is now working on free-trade agreement with ten countries, Crowder said.

U.S. trade officials have said they must decide soon - possibly later this month - whether and with whom to begin new trade negotiations to allow enough time to get them pushed through Congress before President George W. Bush’s trade-negotiating authority expires in 2007.