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Statement by Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner on Signing of the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement
December 14, 2007
"Today's signing of the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act shows renewed momentum in the U.S. pursuit of free trade with nations that share our economic, cultural and social values. This bilateral agreement reflects the mutual commitment of Peru and the United States to opening markets and reaping the benefits of trade. We are honored and pleased to be entering into such an important partnership with Peru.
"I would also like to thank Congress for its overwhelming bipartisan support in passing this agreement. I encourage them to show this same bipartisan spirit, and work with us to pass the agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
"This Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) will allow Peru and the United States to begin implementing two-way market access for our agricultural goods. U.S. agriculture has been among the staunchest proponents of trade agreements, and we stand ready with market development tools for U.S. exporters to fulfill the immediate and prolonged gains from this agreement.
"We are committed to working with Peru's leaders to ensure that the benefits of the TPA are widely distributed throughout the agricultural sector and the economy as a whole. Currently, 30 percent of the Peruvian population works in agriculture. The agreement will provide new incentives to Peru's agricultural sector to modernize and create new opportunities for subsistence producers in agriculture. The agreement will increase job opportunities in the production, processing, and marketing sectors — good jobs that will attract people away from illegal coca production and enable them to pull themselves out of chronic poverty in rural areas.
"The Peruvian middle class is growing rapidly, and the future of U.S. agricultural growth depends upon gaining competitive access to these increasingly affluent consumers. In fiscal year 2007, U.S. exporters sold nearly $333 million in agricultural products in Peru and, under the TPA, our agricultural producers will be well positioned to provide an expanded range of high-value and consumer-ready products to this market. The TPA will also help to keep U.S. bulk commodities competitive in Peru. On the first day the agreement goes into effect, Peru will grant duty-free access to fully 90 percent of our food and agricultural products, greatly increasing the competitiveness of U.S. goods.
"At the same time, the Peruvian economy will gain from enhanced investment opportunities and market participation. Increased prosperity for Peru promises a stable government, growing numbers of middle-income consumers, a stalwart trading partner, and democratic presence in South America – all of which are in the best interests of the United States."