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Press Statement
Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 27, 2008


Extension of the Andean Trade Preference Act

We commend the House of Representatives for approving the Andean Trade Preference Extension Act (ATPA) of 2008. We urge the Senate to pass an extension quickly and send it to the President for signature before the current program expires on February 29, 2008.

ATPA alleviates poverty by creating jobs and economic opportunities for the people of Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. It also provides sustainable alternatives to drug-crop production and helps to consolidate democracy in the Andean region. The four governments estimate that the program has generated almost 2 million jobs for their citizens.

Extension of this program allows for a continuation of benefits as the governments of Peru and the United States complete the implementation of the U.S-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, which the President signed into law on December 14, 2007.

This extension also serves as a bridge while the Administration works with Congress to secure prompt approval of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. ATPA must be renewed periodically and does not grant reciprocal market access to U.S. businesses, farmers, and ranchers. We encourage Congress to replace one-way free trade with Colombia with permanent, two-way free trade.

2008/144


Released on February 27, 2008

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