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United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act -- Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I strongly support H.R. 3688, the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act, PTPA.

The agreement before this Chamber today stands as another important milestone in the development of our relationship with Peru. The pending trade bill will help level the commercial playing field and solidify a genuine bilateral partnership based on free and fair trade that benefits not only Peruvians, but also U.S. workers and businesses. Ratification will also demonstrate to the people of Peru that we stand by them as an important democratic ally in a strategically vital region of the world.

As it currently stands, 98 percent of goods imported from Peru already enter the United States duty-free. If this agreement is passed and fully implemented, 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial goods and over two-thirds of agricultural exports will gain duty-free access to the Peruvian market of some 29 million citizens. The agreement also contains provisions that address intellectual property rights, electronic commerce, customs and trade facilitation, and these provisions will reduce barriers on investment. The U.S. currently exports nearly $2 billion in goods to Peru, a figure certain to grow as a result of increased access to this vibrant South American market.

While the economic benefits we will enjoy as a result of passing the PTPA are important, we must not ignore the political benefits as well. Peru stands as a shining example of the potential for democracy and open markets in South America. Following free and fair elections in 2006, Peru's economy continues to grow at an impressive rate of 8 percent annually, and its poverty rate has been on the decline since 2001. It is also important to recognize the assistance the Peruvian government has provided the United States in combating drug trafficking, countering regional security threats, and providing for our energy needs. Implementation of this agreement will lead to greater prosperity and development for the Peruvian people, helping to strengthen their nation and our relationship with them.

I have long advocated for economic freedom and open markets. Free trade has long served to promote economic growth, generate jobs, raise wages and lower prices for American workers and consumers. I believe in the ingenuity and resilience of the American worker and am not afraid of their ability to compete successfully in the global marketplace. America is home to the best and the brightest, and should have the opportunity to play a significant role in an increasingly globalized marketplace. By passing this agreement, we will reaffirm our commitment to nations that share our interest in open markets, economic freedom, and democracy.

I urge my colleagues to support swift passage of this important agreement.


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