IMRA SUPPORTS HOUSE PASSAGE OF TRADE BILL
An alliance of retailers and suppliers on Monday said that last week’s House passage of the Trade Act of 2002 (H.R. 3009) will help foster global economic stability.
“Trade Promotion Authority is essential to the United States’ ability to negotiate free trade agreements that will lead to reduced tariffs,” said Robert Verdisco, president of the International Mass Retailers’ Association.
The bill, approved by a 215-212 vote, grants the president authority to negotiate trade agreements that are subject to a non-amendable, up or down vote by Congress.
Verdisco added that the bill, which includes the Andean Trade Preference Act, would provide low tariffs for selected products from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. It also calls for a Generalized System of Preferences, authorizing the president to give preferential duty treatment to goods from developing countries. Verdisco described passage of those two elements of the bill as “long overdue.”'
Rep. Calvin Dooley, R-Calif., praised the House’s passage of the bill. “The legislation sends a strong signal to our trading partners that the United States will advance the commitments made at the WTO Ministerial at Doha, and play a leadership role in the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas,” Dooley said. This week, the Senate will consider similar legislation.