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Former Ag Secretaries Support Peru Trade Deal

by 5m Editor
12 October 2007, at 10:32am

WASHINGTON, DC - The Agricultural Coalition for US-Peru Trade praised four former secretaries of Agriculture for their support for the free trade agreement now pending in Congress and urged lawmakers vote on the pact.

In a joint letter sent to every member of Congress, Bob Bergland, John Block, Dan Glickman and Clayton Yeutter expressed their “strong support” for the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA), noting that it “will achieve a more balanced bilateral relationship in the agricultural sector.”

The former USDA secretaries, who served in the Carter, Reagan, Clinton and George H.W. Bush administrations, respectively, also mentioned the geopolitical implications of the agreement: “The United States must not turn its back on the opportunity the PTPA and the other trade agreements (with Colombia and Panama) offer to strengthen economic and political ties with Peru and other countries in the Hemisphere.”

Under the Peru TPA, more than two-thirds of current U.S. farm exports will become duty-free immediately. Tariffs on most U.S. farm products will be phased out within 15 years, with all tariffs eliminated in 17 years. In addition, Peru agreed to eliminate its price band system on trade with the United States, and the United States and Peru resolved a number of significant sanitary, phytosanitary and technical-standards issues that had impeded or blocked U.S. exports of beef, pork, poultry and rice. The Peruvian government, for example, agreed in writing to recognize the meat inspection system of the United States as equivalent to its own.

The Peru agreement is expected to be the first of four pending free trade pacts to see congressional action. Free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea also are pending in Congress.

Two weeks ago, the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-Peru Trade held a press event at which Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner reiterated the Bush administration’s strong support for expanded trade.

“The pending free trade agreements will be a powerful tool for opening agricultural markets to American producers,” said Conner. “Exports make the difference between profit and loss for many of our farmers and ranchers and these agreements level the playing field for our producers by eliminating barriers and opening the door to billions of dollars worth of increased trade.”

5m Editor