June 14, 2005

CRAPO CALLS FOR CHANGES TO CAFTA

Negotiations continue over sugar provisions

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is calling for changes to the Central America - Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, commonly known as CAFTA. Crapo says unfair provisions in the agreement concerning sugar imports that would harm Idahoâ??s sugar industry and economy must be amended or deleted. Crapo voted against the draft legislation to implement CAFTA when it was passed by the Senate Finance Committee today by a vote of 11 to 9. Crapo has said that he cannot support CAFTA as written, which may improve market access in Central American countries for some commodities, while harming the U.S. sugar industry through increased sugar imports. â??A University of Idaho study estimated that if sugarbeet production and processing no longer existed, Idahoâ??s losses would include more than three thousand jobs, $201 million in lost revenue for sugarbeets, $70 million in decreased potato prices resulting from an increase in potato production. I cannot support an agreement that threatens Idahoâ??s jobs and economy in such a way,â?? Crapo said.Crapo noted negotiations continue toward reaching an agreement that could address sugar concerns. â??I am hopeful that an agreement can still be reached that may minimize the impact of CAFTA on our sugar industry,â?? Crapo said. â??However, as it stands, this agreement jeopardizes the solvency of U.S. sugar producers. I do not want to see a day when U.S. sugar production no longer exists. â?? The draft implementing legislation will now be sent to the Administration for consideration. The Senate Finance Committee will vote again on final CAFTA implementing legislation submitted to Congress by the Administration before it will be considered by the full Senate.# # #