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Former agriculture secretaries support Peru FTA

Four former US secretaries of agriculture have expressed their support for the US-Peru free trade agreement, now pending in Congress, which could greatly improve pork, poultry and beef trade.

In a press release on the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) website, the effort of the four (Bob Bergland, John Block, Dan Glickman and Clayton Yeutter) is described.

In a joint letter sent to every member of Congress, they expressed their 'strong support' for the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA), noting that it "will achieve a more balanced bilateral relationship in the agricultural sector."

Implications
The former USDA secretaries, who served in the Carter, Reagan, Clinton and George H.W. Bush administrations, respectively, mentioned the geopolitical implications of the agreement: "The United States must not turn its back on the opportunity the PTPA and the other trade agreements (with Colombia and Panama) offer to strengthen economic and political ties with Peru and other countries in the Hemisphere."

Under the Peru TPA, more than two-thirds of current US farm exports will become duty-free immediately. Tariffs on most US farm products will be phased out within 15 years, with all tariffs eliminated in 17 years.

Sanitary issues
In addition, Peru agreed to eliminate its price band system on trade with the United States, and the United States and Peru resolved a number of significant sanitary, phytosanitary and technical-standards issues that had impeded or blocked US exports of beef, pork, poultry and rice.

The Peruvian government, for example, agreed in writing to recognise the meat inspection system of the United States as equivalent to its own.

The Peru agreement is expected to be the first of four pending free trade pacts to see congressional action. Free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea also are pending in Congress.

Related websites:
• United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
• National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) 

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