Ag Secretary, Trade Representative to Testify on Free Trade Area of the Americas

Apr 24, 2001

Ag Secretary, Trade Representative to Testify on Free Trade Area of the Americas
House Agriculture Committee's May 23 hearing looks to next steps in Western Hemisphere

(April 24, 2001)

House Agriculture Committee Members will hear May 23 from USDA Secretary Ann Veneman and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick on agriculture's opportunities within the world's largest potential free trade zone, the Western Hemisphere.

At the Summit of the Americas this past weekend, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-Texas) led a congressional delegation to talk directly with heads of state and trade negotiators committed to complete agreement on the Free Trade Area of the Americas by 2005.

The Committee's May 23 hearing will be an opportunity for the Secretary and the Trade Representative to present a public report on the Bush Administration proposals, timetable for negotiations and discussion of the significant meaning the negotiations can have to American agricultural interests.

"Nations of the Western Hemisphere have formally agreed to work for free trade benefits to 800 million people who are a natural market for our agriculture goods," said Combest. "American farmers are the pioneering leaders of safe and dependable food. The Agriculture Committee intends to assess the impact on American producers for agricultural markets opened within the democracies of the Western Hemisphere."

The Wednesday, May 23 hearing from the House Agriculture Committee begins at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, with audio available during the hearing from the Committee's web site and opening statements posted at the beginning of the hearing.