Skip to comments.Senate committee votes for CAFTA
Posted on 06/15/2005 1:07:34 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
The Central American Free Trade Agreement cleared an important hurdle yesterday after the Bush administration pledged to discuss "any reasonable proposals" to allay sugar-industry concerns about the deal. The Senate Finance Committee voted 11-9 in favor of CAFTA after an informal hearing. Sen. Craig Thomas, Wyoming Republican, proved to be the crucial pro-CAFTA vote at the hearing. The lawmaker consistently has opposed CAFTA provisions that would allow the six Latin American nations to increase their sugar exports to the United States. But yesterday, after reviewing a letter from Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and talking with U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, he said the administration and sugar producers now appear to be willing to sit down and talk about solutions. "I don't know what the solution will be. ... I'll vote no if we don't come up with something," said Mr. Thomas, whose state is home to sugar-beet farmers. CAFTA is a set of trade and investment rules for the United States, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The Bush administration says the pact would boost U.S. exports while cementing economic and political reform in a region troubled by civil war through the 1980s. But opponents say CAFTA does too little to protect workers and will damage some U.S. industries -- especially sugar-cane and sugar-beet growers. "As the Senate Committee on Finance begins consideration of CAFTA-DR this morning, I want to assure you that I remain receptive to discussing any reasonable proposals that may help address your sugar growers' concerns," Mr. Johanns wrote to the senator.
(Excerpt) Read more at washtimes.com ...
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