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Matheson: Free Trade Promotes Jobs, Strengthens Democracy

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Matheson: Free Trade Promotes Jobs, Strengthens Democracy

Congressman Jim Matheson said a proposed free trade agreement with Peru will boost Utah's economy and help relations with a democratic ally in a challenging region of the world. Matheson—a long-time supporter of free trade—voted for HR 3688- the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement.

"Open markets are a good thing for our economy and our commitment to peacefully engaging with the world," said Matheson. "America's markets are already open to Peru. This agreement will eliminate tariffs -some as high as 30%-- on American exports and open Peru's markets to our goods, food and services."

Matheson said Utah's economy benefited from $7.6 million in exports to Peru in 2006. With the free trade agreement in place, Utah industries in key areas, including machinery manufacturers, processed foods and computer and electronic products are expect to increase 30-50%.

Matheson said the Peru trade agreement strikes a good balance between traditional market-opening measures and strong labor and environmental standards. It includes enforceable international labor standards such as recognizing the right to collective bargaining and the elimination of all forced or compulsory labor. Environmental standards, including protection of endangered tropical forests, are written into the bill as well.

"All eight living former Secretaries of State have written to Congress, urging approval of this legislation. Peru is a democratic friend in an increasingly tough neighborhood. We shouldn't turn back the clock on the free trade agenda that holds so much promise for peacefully engaging with the world and strengthening Utah's economic future," said Matheson.

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