PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3688, UNITED STATES-PERU TRADE PROMOTION AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACT -- (House of Representatives - November 07, 2007)
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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I thank the gentleman from California for the time.
I am extremely pleased, Mr. Speaker, that we are considering the Peru Free Trade Agreement tonight. The decision to move forward with legislation that expands our commercial relations with Peru signals the importance that this agreement holds for U.S. economic and security interests in the Andean region and, in fact, in Latin America as a whole. The benefits to both of our countries are significant.
By removing barriers on our exports to Peru, this agreement will add $2.1 billion per year to our U.S. economy. The positive impact will be felt across the country. With almost one-fifth of the total bilateral merchandise trade between the U.S. and Peru moving through my home State of Florida, I know firsthand the importance of this agreement for our home State economies and our constituents.
Within the first year of the agreement's implementation, Florida's total economic output is estimated to rise by $143 million and total earnings for Florida's workers are estimated to be $35 million higher than in the absence of this free trade agreement. The benefits that Peru currently enjoys under the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act only stand to multiply under passage of this FTA. By enhancing these opportunities for economic growth via the free trade agreement, the U.S. is strengthening legal economies that provide viable alternatives to illicit drug production. More than mere trade deals, these agreements are a major factor in defining the future of U.S. interests in the Western Hemisphere and our commitment to a strong, stable, democratic neighbor.
Therefore, although we are focused tonight, Mr. Speaker, on the agreement with Peru, we cannot lose sight of its importance within the broader regional context of the pending agreements with Colombia and Panama. For example, recent studies show that if the Colombian Free Trade Agreement is not approved and those with Peru and Panama are, Colombia's GDP will be hurt by over 2 percent. Reinforcing Colombia's economy is a prerequisite to its ability to continue to fight the drug lords and the FARC terrorists. President Uribe of Colombia has committed himself and his country to the principles of a secure, more democratic society amidst a growing tide of authoritarian regimes in the region. And there will be a significant cost to the American economy from the failure to approve the Colombian Free Trade Agreement. Over 600,000 jobs in the United States are estimated to depend on exports to Colombia, jobs that will be put at risk if that trade agreement is not approved.
Each of the trade agreements is an important element in our twin goals of ensuring our continued economic growth and reinforcing our allies in the region.
I strongly support passage of this bipartisan agreement, and I urge my colleagues to do as well.
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