Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Thursday, April 21, 2005

CRAIG OPPOSES CAFTA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho Senator Larry Craig joined a bi-partisan group of his colleagues today in voicing their opposition to the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Craig issued the following statement:

“Since Congress gave the President ‘fast-track’ trade negotiating authority in August of 2002, we’ve had to face the realities that come with it. I supported giving the President ‘fast-track’ authority then, and promised I would approach all trade agreements sent to Congress with an open mind. After all, trade with foreign nations is a valuable tool for promoting economic opportunities here at home, but also to spread our democratic ideals that we value so highly in our country. Three agreements have reached Congress since 2002, and I have voted for two of those three.

“I tried to work with the Administration to craft CAFTA so that Idaho’s interests would be protected. As an agricultural State, Idaho has a large stake in these agreements and agriculture is learning how to restructure itself as our global markets become highly integrated. One such agricultural sector is sugar. Idaho is the second largest producer of sugar beets, and the industry employs around 8,000 people and injects $800 million into Idaho’s economy.

“Over the past few unprofitable years, Idaho’s sugar industry has worked hard to implement measures to ensure it survives in a world market characterized by foreign producers dumping sugar below the cost of production. CAFTA would compound an already ugly situation and set a bad precedent for future trade agreements.

“Other Idaho agricultural groups understand that those farmers who are sugar producers are also potato, bean, and grain producers. We’re not talking about impacting one commodity; we are cutting a wide swath across several industries. Because of that, I can’t support CAFTA.”

For more information on what Senator Craig is doing for agriculture, please visit http://craig.senate.gov/i_agactionplan.htm.

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