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Rice, Paulson And Schwab Comment On Senate Passage Of US-Peru FTA

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

05 December 2007

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. have issued statements this week showing strong support for America's decision to enter into a Free Trade Agreement with Peru.

Only last month, US Trade Representative Susan Schwab welcomed the House Ways and Means Committee's approval of a draft US-Peru free trade agreement (FTA), which includes language incorporating new labor standards and environmental protection measures.

The US-Peru FTA is part of a planned new wave of agreements incorporating environmental and labor requirements, resulting from the landmark bipartisan trade deal struck between Congress and the administration in May.

Secretary Rice spoke highly of the agreement, stating: "I am gratified by the Senate's bipartisan approval of the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement. This is a strong agreement that will benefit both our countries. US businesses, workers, farmers, and ranchers will now be able to compete on a level playing field with their Peruvian counterparts, and US investors will have greater opportunities to play a positive role in the Peruvian economy."

She continued: "Peruvian access to the US market, which had to be renewed by Congress periodically, will become permanent. This permanent access will help build a more efficient and effective economic engine to create growth, jobs and economic opportunities both in Peru and in the United States."

Henry Paulson, US Treasury Secretary, backed the views of Ms. Rice, stating that:

"I commend the Senate on this week's vote. This is an important bipartisan accomplishment that will give US businesses and exporters access to Peru's markets."

"Free trade agreements are a proven way to increase exports of US goods and agricultural products and are essential for continued job creation and protecting US investments."

Mr. Paulson also went on to add:

"This vote signals the United States' commitment to reducing trade barriers and spreading prosperity in the hemisphere. I look forward to working with Congress to secure passage of the other important pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea."

US Trade Representative, Susan Schwab also welcomed the Senate approval of the FTA, announcing that:

"This strong bipartisan vote by the United States Senate for the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement will ensure a vibrant two-way trade relationship and enduring friendship in our hemisphere. Currently, nearly all products from Peru enter the US market duty free. With this agreement, American farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, service providers, and their employees will gain reciprocal access to Peru’s growing market. Peru’s people, meanwhile, will lock in access to the largest market in the world and be able to attract more investment."

She concluded: “With the strong votes by both Chambers of Congress, we are sending a strong signal to the world that the United States is regaining its bipartisan footing on trade policy and is a reliable ally to countries that are building political and economic freedom. I applaud the leadership of Chairman Baucus and Senator Grassley in demonstrating yet again their determination to put the interests of the nation ahead of partisanship. I am eager to work with Congress to ensure the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea are voted on promptly.”

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