December 22,2005

Grassley Urges Portman to Notify Congress of U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, with Senate jurisdiction over international trade, today urged United States Trade Representative Rob Portman tonotify Congress of his intent to have the United States enter into a free trade agreement with Peru.

Grassley said the timely notification is important to ensure timely congressional consideration of thetrade agreement next year and should not wait for the conclusion of trade agreement negotiations withColombia or Ecuador. The text of Grassley’s letter to Portman follows here.

December 22, 2005

The Honorable Rob Portman
United States Trade Representative
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
600 17th Street NW, Room 215
Washington, DC 20508

Dear Ambassador Portman:

Congratulations on completing negotiations on a free trade agreement with Peru. This comprehensiveagreement will promote economic growth and prosperity in both the United States and Peru. I amespecially pleased with the broad market access commitments on agriculture, which will greatly benefitagricultural exporters in my home state of Iowa.

I strongly support efforts to conclude similar comprehensive and far-reaching agreements with bothColombia and Ecuador. I am hopeful negotiations with these countries conclude soon so that they mayjoin with Peru to form an Andean free trade area.

However, I urge you not to wait for conclusion of negotiations with Colombia or Ecuador beforeformally notifying Congress of your intent to enter into a free trade agreement with Peru. As you know,formal notification of intent to enter into a free trade agreement is required by Section 2105(A)(1)(a)of the Trade Act of 2002 in order for an agreement to receive expedited consideration under TradePromotion Authority procedures. The statute further requires that ninety calendar days elapse before theUnited States can actually enter into a free trade agreement. Therefore at least ninety days must elapsebefore Congress can even begin implementation of the agreement under Trade Promotion Authorityprocedures. In order to ensure timely implementation of the agreement by Congress next year, I urgeyou to send the formal notice of intent to enter into a free trade agreement with Peru soon.

Should negotiations with Colombia or Ecuador conclude in the short-term, a second notification ofintent could be sent and the agreements could be considered together. However, I do not believe thatconsideration of the Peruvian free trade agreement should be delayed in the event that negotiations withColombia or Ecuador are delayed.

Thank you for your consideration of my request.


Charles E. Grassley
Chairman, Senate Finance Committee