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The US Israel Free Trade Area (UIFTA)

Myths vs Facts

The US Trade Representative (USTR) negotiated the US-Israel Free Trade Area (UIFTA) in 1984.  UIFTA became law in 1985 and some observers hail America's first bilateral free trade agreement as a triumph in lowering barriers and boosting trade.  But as the 25th anniversary of UIFTA approaches and the economy continues to decline, many Americans question how beneficial this deal has been for the United States.  Myths vs Facts   Myths vs Facts Sheet (PDF)

Petition to Suspend the UIFTA

On May 13, 2009, the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy filed a petition to suspend the UIFTA with the US Trade Representative in Washington DC.  Executive Summary  Full Filing (PDF)

Archive: Document History of the UIFTA and Commercial Espionage

In 1983 the Israeli Prime Minister and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbied the Reagan administration for preferential access to the US market.  The US Trade Representative (USTR) commissioned the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to conduct an investigation to advise the President about the probable economic effect of providing duty free entry of Israeli imports on January 31, 1984.

The ITC compiled "business confidential" information and intellectual property solicited from US corporations and industry associations into a classified report for the negotiations.  But on August 3, 1984 the Washington Post broke the news that the FBI was investigating how AIPAC obtained one of the fifteen numbered and tightly controlled copies of the classified report.  The ITC later confirmed it was also obtained by the Israeli government. Since the agreement was signed in 1985, US trade with Israel shifted from surplus to a cumulative $71 billion deficit (adjusted for inflation).  The 2008 $7.8 billion deficit with Israel was equivalent to 126,000 US manufacturing related jobs.  It is the only bilateral FTA producing multi-billion dollar deficits to the US every year for the last decade but total losses are still unknown.  Archive

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