Statement by Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner Regarding Approval of the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement
"Passage of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement by the U.S. House of Representatives signals the importance the United States places on free trade in this hemisphere and our support for trade partners that share our economic and societal values.
"Peru is already an important market for America’s farmers and ranchers, accounting for $209 million of agricultural sales in 2006. We look forward to recapturing the market share in bulk commodities that we have lost to our competitors and to creating new opportunities for consumer-ready and higher-valued products. Once the agreement is fully implemented, 90 percent of our food and agricultural exports to Peru will enter duty-free and all U.S. exports will eventually enter duty-free. Peru will also benefit from the agreement, which makes permanent Peru’s market access to the United States. The agreement also supports trade capacity building in Peru, which will help them to strengthen their participation in the global marketplace.
"This solid bipartisan approval is a very positive step and provides the momentum we need to move our trade agenda forward to other nations in line for trade promotion. I just returned from Colombia with several members of Congress where we saw firsthand the tremendous progress there. Colombia is making impressive strides toward economic stability and the free trade agreement would bolster those efforts. The benefits are clear for both countries. Duties on U.S. exports to Colombia are currently very high and the agreement will immediately eliminate duties on 50 percent of our agricultural goods. All duties would be phased-out over time. This agreement is vitally important not only to level the playing field for our farmers and ranchers, but also to support a country committed to democracy. Colombia is striving to create a safe, economically stable society and this agreement can help to achieve these goals.
“We look forward to working with Congress and the agricultural industry on passage of the free trade agreement with Colombia, as well as the pending agreements with Panama and South Korea.”
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