WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives passed implementing language for free trade agreements with Chile and Singapore on Thursday, and the Senate is expected to take the agreements up early this week. The bill is the result of a "mock markup" process in which Congress submitted suggested draft language to President Bush, who then submitted a final non-amendable implementing bill.

The U.S. completed negotiations with both countries in late 2002. Pursuant to the Trade Act of 2002, President Bush was required to notify Congress 90 days prior to negotiating and signing the agreements. At the end of negotiations, the agreements were subjected to extensive legal review.

"These agreements are an important step toward a tariff-free world," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist. "The Bush administration has been tireless in its promotion of free trade."

The U.S.-Chile FTA is the first between the U.S. and a South American country, and the U.S.-Singapore FTA is the first with an Asian nation. The United States already has free trade agreements with Canada and Mexico (NAFTA); Israel; and Jordan. The Bush Administration is expected to complete negotiations for an agreement with Morocco by the end of this year, and recently announced its intention to enter free trade negotiations with Bahrain.