U.S. Senate approves Peru FTA

The United States Senate has overwhelmingly approved a free trade agreement with Peru today. The 77 – 18 vote in favor of the accord awaits the ratifying signature of U.S. President George W. Bush.

¨This definitive approval of the FTA opens Peru to the worlds largest market and consolidates the path of commercial liberalization and progress based on investment and commerce, which Peru is having success with,¨ said Peru’s Minister of Foreign Commerce and Tourism, Mercedes Aráoz. ¨Instead of conflicts, Peruvians have hoped for results like this, and we are honored to deliver them this great change in the economic history of Peru.¨

The FTA immediately eliminates more than two-thirds of U.S. farm exports and 80 percent of industrial and consumer product exports to Peru. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates the agreement will increase U.S. agricultural trade by $705 million per year after full implementation.

But according to Washington based Public Citizen, the FTA includes ¨NAFTA-style agriculture rules that are projected to displace tens of thousands of Peru’s Andean farmers and thus increase coca production and immigration.¨

Before the FTA can come into effect, Peru and the United States need to enact legislative changes. Peruvian officials expect that will take approximately eight months.

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