June 30, 2005

CRAPO VOTES NO ON CAFTA

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo tonight voted against legislation to implement the U.S. Central America - Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Crapo said that while very appreciative of the commitments obtained from the Bush Administration to hold the U.S. sugar industry harmless throughout the duration of the 2002 Farm Bill, he had to vote with Idaho growers who remained opposed to CAFTA. The measure was approved on a vote of 54-to-45.Crapo was involved in several meetings with President Bush, Agriculture Secretary Johanns, U.S. Trade Representative Portman and representatives from both Idaho and U.S. sugar producers during much of the last few weeks. He said growers were not satisfied by Administration promises to buy or keep out subsidized sugar entering the country under CAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and new free trade agreements until the end of the current Farm Bill. The compromise would have provided an important step in working toward getting sugar solid footing in ethanol production."I commend the Administration for working with the U.S. sugar industry, fellow Senators and Members of Congress from sugar producing states, and the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee on which I serve, toward minimizing the impact of subsidized sugar imports on our U.S. sugar industry," said Crapo. "The Administration listened to our concerns and offered protections necessary for the industry throughout the duration of the current Farm Bill. However, the offers were not accepted by the sugar producers." As a member of the Senate Finance, Agriculture and Banking Committees, Crapo serves on three key committees dealing with agriculture and trade issues. "I remain committed to U.S. agriculture and will continue to work diligently in the best interest of the all Idaho interests," said Crapo. # # #