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Statement By Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns Regarding the Senate Passage of the U.S.-Dominican Republic and Central America Free Trade Agreement
June 30, 2005
"Tonight, the United States Senate voted to support the U.S.-Dominican Republic and Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), which will eliminate tariffs and trade barriers and expand regional opportunities for our nation's farmers and ranchers workers, manufacturers and consumers.
"I commend the United States Senate for passing DR-CAFTA. CAFTA is another important step in building new markets and improving the competitive position of U.S. agriculture in the global marketplace. CAFTA will level the playing field for America's producers. By opening these markets on a fair and an equitable basis, we could double U.S. agricultural exports to these countries.
"For the Central American countries, CAFTA will bring new investments, better jobs, higher labor standards and better access to American goods at better prices. Increased trade offers more opportunity for economic growth and greater political stability and this is especially important in an area that was once characterized by oppression and military dictatorship.
"I also want to commend the House Ways and Means Committee members for their support of this agreement today. I urge the U.S. House of Representatives to act quickly and vote to support CAFTA, so our nation's producers have the same access to CAFTA markets the Central American countries have to our market."