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Negotiations On Central American Free Trade Agreement Move Forward

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Negotiations on Central American Free Trade Agreement Move ForwardWith the Chilean free trade agreement finalized, the administration is moving forward on a free trade agreement with Central America (CAFTA) and the question of Tariff Preference Levels (TPLs) is a major bone of contention. Seven US senators have written the US Trade Representative supporting the domestic textile industrys contention that there should be no TPLs in CAFTA. Noting that the US position going into the negotiations did not include TPLs, the senators said, Including TPLs in a final agreement would not only be unnecessary but it would constitute a giveaway of badly needed US jobs at a time that our states can least afford to lose them. The letter added the belief that CAFTA should benefit the Central American and US industries and not those of another continent. The letter was signed by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Zell Miller (D-GA), George Allen (R-VA), John Edwards ( D-NC), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Fritz Hollings (D-SC) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent August 2003