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ATA Sees Opportunities for Trucking in Trade Agreement


ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 28 -- The American Trucking Associations and the Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference, an ATA affiliate, today congratulated the House of Representatives for passing the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), citing its potential to increase domestic and international economic opportunities for the United States and for ATA’s member motor carriers.

“CAFTA expands international commerce and ensures the continued growth of the economy of the United States,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “This measure will boost the flow of goods and eliminate international obstructions to production, distribution and economic opportunities.”

ATA said CAFTA levels the playing field for U.S. trade by preventing Central American countries from entering into third-party trade agreements, thus ensuring that the six-member countries each operate under the same set of trade rules. Prior to CAFTA, Central America and the Dominican Republic enjoyed nearly free access to the U.S. marketplace while U.S. access to theirs remained limited. Some 80 percent of Central American and Dominican products entered the United States market duty free, while U.S. exports to those six countries faced stiff tariffs. CAFTA will fix this imbalance by immediately eliminating all tariffs on 80 percent of U.S. manufactured goods and 50 percent of agricultural products. The remainder will be phased out over a few years.

“The passage of CAFTA by the House of Representatives benefits both the economy and national security of the United States,” AFTC Chairman Greg Owen said. “With population and consumption growth for many products stagnant in the United States, access to markets such as those in Central America is critical for the growth and profitability of U.S. agriculture. Increased exports will amplify demand and business for commercial transporters of agricultural commodities and food products.”

ATA said mutually beneficial trade under CAFTA will raise respective standards of living by providing people with more goods at less real cost, raising productivity and increasing economic efficiency through competition. It also opens new service markets, including for express shipments. CAFTA is expected to create about 25,000 new U.S. jobs in its first year and up to 130,000 in a decade while boosting U.S. agricultural exports by $1.5 billion annually.

The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its fifty affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States.

AFTC, founded in 1995, is the national organization representing commercial transporters of agricultural commodities, food, forest, and mineral products.


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