Washington Ag December 12, 2005 Asparagus growers from Washington, Michigan and California are expressing outrage over the continued duty free access Peruvian asparagus receives under a Free Trade Agreement concluded with the U.S. last week. U.S. producers had hoped for some safeguards against a flood of Peruvian imports that have decimated growers and sent most of the U.S. processing industry to Peru.
The FTA negotiated by the U.S. Trade Representative must be approved by Congress though, and Alan Schreiber executive of the Washington Asparagus Commission, says growers will fight it tooth and nail.
Schreiber: "We have support from members of the Washington, California, Michigan delegation and we hope to have more votes in our camp. The Central American Free Trade Agreement passed by two votes and some of the "yes" votes for that agreement our in our camp this time."
Duties were initially removed on Peruvian asparagus as a result of the Andean Trade Preferences Act in 1991, which was an anti-drug measure. Schreiber says that policy was a miserable failure resulting in record imports of both drugs and asparagus from Peru.
I'm Bob Hoff.