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Friday, 9 February, 2001, 15:57 GMT
Free trade deals isolate US
American exports could have fewer ports of call
US exporters fear being locked out of trade deals
The United States is no longer "indispensable" in international trade negotiations, some of the biggest businesses in the United States have warned the Bush Administration.

Europe has sewn up 33% of the world's exports with free trade agreements compared to only 11% by the US, according to a report from the Business Roundtable (BRT), a pressure group representing some of the largest corporations in the US, among them Boeing and Motorola.

The BRT is urging the Bush administration to sign more free trade deals or be surrounded by hostile trading blocks

The report, "The case for US Trade Leadership", found that Europe, Japan and even Mexico, the US's second largest trading partner, are creating tariffs, standards and regulations that discriminate against American businesses.

While the US has a strong record on disputes with the World Trade Organisation, the report found it had only signed free trade deals with three countries, Canada, Mexico and Israel, while the EU had 27 agreements.

Trade pact rejected

America is being left out of free trade deals
Condit leads push for more free-trade deals
Meanwhile the lobby group has criticised trade pacts signed by the Clinton Administration.

The BRT will not endorse a free-trade pact agreed between Jordan and the US last year because it includes a clause allowing trade sanctions if Jordan does not enforce certain domestic labour standards, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The Roundtable was set-up in 1972 to allow chief executives to meet and lobby the US government on business issues.

Chairman of the group is Phil Condit, chief executive of plane make Boeing, America's largest exporter.

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See also:

27 Jan 01 | Business
WTO on the defensive
25 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
China proposes free trade zone
23 Mar 00 | Americas
EU, Mexico sign free trade deal
23 Jan 01 | Business
World trade dilemmas
01 Feb 01 | Business
US boom bids adieu
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