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Bush asks congress to approve trade agreement with Colombia


Bush Asks Congress to Approve Trade Agreement With Colombia

By Andrea Jaramillo

24 August 2006

Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) — President George W. Bush asked U.S. congress to approve a free trade agreement with Colombia, saying it would strengthen a democracy in Latin America.

Bush sent official notification of his intention to sign the agreement to both houses of congress in a letter posted on the White House Web site, giving congress 90 days to approve it.

``It will generate export opportunities for U.S. farmers, ranchers, and companies, help create jobs in the United States, and help American consumers save money while offering them more choices,’’ Bush said the letter. It will also ``benefit the people of Colombia by providing economic opportunity and by strengthening democracy.’’

The Bush administration began trade negotiations with Colombia, Peru and Ecuador in 2003 partly as a way to help their economies expand away from reliance on trade in coca, the main ingredient of cocaine. The agreement, which was reached between the two nations in February, will make Colombia’s duty-free access to the U.S. permanent after a prior agreement intended to curb the illegal drug trade expires at the end of the year.