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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Small Business Thumbs Up on Expanding Trade with Peru

On November 8, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement by a vote of 285-132.

Today (December 4), the U.S. Senate joined the House in this common sense, pro-growth vote, passing the agreement by 77-18.

Here’s a big small business thumbs up to those members of the House and Senate who supported this expansion of free trade.

In a statement, Steve Preston, U.S. Small Business Administration administrator, summed up the benefits quite ably:

“The agreement will level the playing field for American small businesses by giving them the same duty-free access that Peruvian businesses have to the U.S. market. It will also help generate job growth by opening new opportunities to entrepreneurs seeking expansion into this important market.

“Peru already plays a significant role in the America’s small business marketplace. In 2005, 38 percent of exports from the U.S. to Peru were by small and medium-sized businesses, notably higher than the 29 percent small and medium-sized business share of U.S. exports to the world. Under this agreement, previous tariffs will be removed and trade will expand between the two countries.

“International trade is becoming an increasingly important avenue for small business growth, with the number of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses that export more than doubling from 1992 to 2005. We must continue pursuing further opportunities to improve market conditions for small business exporters so they can compete in a global marketplace. I welcome today’s vote and encourage Congress to work cooperatively again to pass Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.”

Right on target. Well said, Mr. Preston.

It also is worth noting that the Peru trade agreement does much more for U.S. exports. As CQ Politics noted today: “The Peru trade agreement would grant immediate duty-free treatment to 80 percent of U.S. exports — beef, cotton, wheat and soybeans — to the South American nation. Because of trade preferences extended to Peru and three other Andean nations through February, 98 percent of goods from Peru already enjoy duty-free access to the U.S. market.”

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