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Statement by Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman On the Conclusion of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement

Dec. 11, 2002

"Today’s announcement that the United States and Chile have concluded a free-trade agreement is good news for America’s farmers, ranchers and exporters who are eager to take advantage of the new and promising export opportunities that the agreement will bring.

"Under this FTA, our access to Chile’s market will improve for a variety of U.S. agricultural products, including durum wheat, pork, beef, feed grains, and dairy, horticultural, and high-value food products. Over three-quarters of U.S. farm goods will enter Chile duty-free within four years and all duties on U.S. products will be phased out over 12 years.

"U.S. wheat, wheat flour and vegetable oils will now receive the most preferential rate available and will be duty-free at the conclusion of the transition period. In the past, Chile’s price band system sharply constrained export opportunities for these products.

"Both of our countries have renewed their commitment to continue the work on resolving important sanitary and phytosanitary issues that inhibit market access.

"While U.S. tariffs will also be eliminated over time under the FTA, the agreement has a provision that will help protect farmers and ranchers from sudden surges in imports from Chile. When the safeguard is triggered, additional duties will be applied.

"This FTA is another step toward this Administration’s goal of harmonizing market access abroad for U.S. agricultural producers and exporters. The agreement will give America’s farmers and ranchers and the businesses they support improved, and in many cases, new access to a market of 15 million consumers.

"I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to Ambassador Zoellick as well as the team of negotiators from both countries, who have worked long and hard for two years to make this FTA a reality. Cooperation in trade in this hemisphere will benefit all of us. Today’s agreement moves us closer to that goal."


USDA Release No. 0506.02
FAS PR 0439-02

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