LIMA, PERU, Oct. 21, 2002 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services J.B. Penn today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Agriculture of Peru establishing a bilateral Consultative Committee on Agriculture (CCA).
“The creation of a CCA reaffirms our joint commitment to market-oriented policies and fair trade in food and agricultural products,” Penn said. “The CCA provides a high-level forum to strengthen our bilateral relationship in agriculture, resolve trade issues and increase cooperation in a number of areas, including trade, biotechnology, food safety, research and technical assistance.”
This morning, Penn and Peruvian Agricultural Minister Alvaro Quijandria co-chaired the first meeting of the U.S.-Peru CCA, which included discussions on a broad range of agricultural issues. Following the CCA meeting, which took place in the Presidential Palace, Penn met with Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, who expressed his support for open markets and expanded trade. Later, Penn addressed the American Chamber of Commerce of Peru.
The CCA will meet at least annually, co-chaired by senior officials of USDA and Peru’s Ministry of Agriculture. The CCA will also facilitate contacts and cooperation between universities, research centers and other institutions of the two countries.
Last year, the United States exported $212 million in agricultural products to Peru, including wheat, cotton, corn, soybean oil and meal, and processed grocery products. U.S. imports of agricultural products from Peru totaled $206 million, including fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, coffee and sugar.
“The document we signed today recognizes that the agricultural trade partnership between our two countries is an important one to each of us, and it signals our intent to build on that partnership,” Penn said.
The CCA will promote expanded trade by identifying and addressing trade-related issues early. It will also foster cooperation in efforts to promote fair and open trade globally through current World Trade Organization negotiations, and regionally through ongoing negotiations to establish a Free Trade Area of the Americas.
The Memorandum of Understanding establishing the CCA was signed by Penn and Quijandria.