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Statement by Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman Regarding Congressional Approval of the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement, July 23, 2004

"I am delighted that the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly approved the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This agreement covers all agricultural products and gives our farmers and ranchers important new trade advantages that will enable them to more effectively compete with Canada, the European Union and other countries in Morocco’s growing market.

"The benefits of this agreement are significant for several U.S. commodities. Morocco’s tariffs on sorghum, corn, soybeans, and corn and soybean products are reduced significantly or eliminated immediately. U.S. beef and poultry producers gain access to a market that was formerly closed to our exports. Increased access for U.S. wheat exports could mean five-fold increases over recent levels. Almond exports could double.

"The FTA is an important part of the United States’ Middle-East Free Trade Initiative, which aims to create a Middle-East Free Trade Area by 2013. The FTA not only expands our access to the Moroccan market for U.S. agricultural products, but also encourages Morocco’s economic growth and promotes social stability, which will enhance future market opportunities."

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