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Bush plans to advance US-Peru trade pact

Bush plans to advance U.S.-Peru trade pact




President George W. Bush notified Congress on Friday of his plan to sign a trade agreement with Peru, a pact the administration views as a step in advancing commerce within the Western Hemisphere.

"The U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement 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 in a letter to Congress.

"The agreement will also benefit the people of Peru by providing economic opportunity and by strengthening democracy," he said.

The two nations wrapped up negotiations on the pact in December. The deal was reached after Colombia and Ecuador halted discussions with Washington on what was expected to be a regional agreement linking all three countries with the United States.

Negotiators from Colombia and Ecuador had complained that the strong desire by Peru for a deal had strengthened the U.S. bargaining position at their expense. U.S. officials expressed the hope that negotiations with the two other nations would resume this year.

Bush, by law, must give Congress 90 days’ notice of his intention to sign the treaty with Peru.

The agreement’s ratification by Congress could be complicated by November’s midterm elections. U.S. lawmakers have been reluctant to get involved in free trade debates, which have seen tenacious opposition recently.

The Bush administration has completed similar agreements with Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman and Singapore. Talks are under way with Panama.

 source: St Louis Post Dispatch