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Washington Outlook Archive

Bush Signs US-Peru Free Trade Agreement

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

In one of his final acts as president, George W. Bush has signed a proclamation activating the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in a move that US trade officials believe will significantly increase trade between the two nations. The US textile industry supports the agreement because it has a yarn-forward rule of origin and does not include tariff preference levels or cumulation, which textile manufacturers see as loopholes. It also, for the first time, includes enhanced labor and environmental standards for trade agreements, standards to which the Bush administration and Congress agreed to in May 2007.

In December 2007, Congress gave final approval to the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, but President Bush held up signing a proclamation implementing the agreement until now in view of some congressional concerns that had to be resolved.

US Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab said: “The agreement marks an important milestone in our relationship with Peru, one of our strongest allies in Latin America. For the first time in history, American exporters will be able to sell the vast majority of their products into the Peruvian market duty-free.” Schwab said that when the agreement enters force, 80 percent of US industrial and consumer goods and more than two-thirds of current US farm exports will be duty-free.

With the signing of the Peru agreement, the United States now has 11 FTAs with nations in North and South America, Central America, Africa, the Far East, the Middle East and Australia.

January 20, 2009