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Trade Negotiator Outlines Plans For Free Trade Pact In The Americas

Washinigton Outlook

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick has notified Congress that he plans to pursue a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), hoping to conclude negotiations by January, 2005. In letters to the House and Senate, Zoellick said negotiations will seek to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, and he will pursue other measures to encourage greater reciprocal market access. In announcing his plans, Zoellick said, "The FTAA negotiations offer the United States an opportunity to lead the Americas toward stable and continuing economic growth, improved living standards and higher paying jobs in all FTAA countries. By reducing and then eliminating hemispheric trade barriers, the FTAA will provide substantial and growing markets for U.S. goods and services." Textile interests in Washington, both manufacturers and importers, support the concept of an FTAA but they are wary of how the plan will actually be carried out. October 2002