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AMI Says CAFTA-DR "A Shot in the Arm for Economic Growth and Prosperity"

Thursday, July 28, 2005

(Washington, D.C.) “Passage of the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) this morning was a shot in the arm for economic growth and prosperity throughout the Americas by removing outdated, protectionist trade barriers,” said J. Patrick Boyle, President and CEO of the American Meat Institute. “This new agreement is not only a victory for American agriculture and the meat and poultry sectors, it also provides a catalyst for America to build closer relationships throughout the Western Hemisphere,” he added.

CAFTA-DR, which passed the House of Representatives early this morning by a 217-215 vote, was already passed by the Senate and is expected to be signed into the law by the President. The bill will eventually allow duty-free exports of meat and poultry products to six Latin American countries while providing additional U.S. agricultural jobs due to increased exports when it becomes law.

"Thanks to courageous and insightful leadership by Congressional leaders, consumers throughout this hemisphere will benefit from access to the best agricultural products and the fairest prices they’ve ever experienced,” noted Boyle. Boyle also praised other members of the House who supported the Administration, and American producers and processors, on this important issue. “With the removal of unfair barriers to trade, producers and processors throughout the Americas will be better positioned to compete toe to toe with competitors on the global market,” he added.

The Agreement will reduce and eliminate duties on U.S. agricultural products in the six countries involved, which currently range from between 15 and 164 percent for beef, pork and poultry exports depending on the country. By contrast, more than 99 percent of U.S. agricultural imports from those countries currently enter the U.S. duty-free. Boyle noted that the incentives for economic growth and market expansion made available by this new agreement will open up millions of new customers for U.S. beef, pork and poultry products. “Free trade is a win-win situation for all countries involved,” he added. “In addition, the value-added products that will be produced and processed in the U.S. and sold to our neighbors, duty free, will boost small town economies across this country,” he said.

For more information on the CAFTA-DR, go to http://www.fas.usda.gov/info/factsheets/CAFTA/overall021105a.html
For more information on the American Meat Institute, go to http://www.meatinstitute.org

For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
Sr. Vice President, Public Affairs

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