Nearly six months after approving a bipartisan deal to get our four outstanding free trade agreements (FTAs) moving, the House will finally consider one of these agreements - the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA). This is important to our country for two main reasons - the impressive economic benefits it brings for our growers, manufacturers and economy at large, and also the critical geopolitical benefits. This makes the Peru TPA a win-win in my book.


In the economic arena, the Peru agreement will level the playing field for U.S. producers. Our agriculture and manufactured goods face tariffs of 12-25 percent on exports destined for Peru. Meanwhile, just about all of Peru's exports to the U.S. come in duty-free because of the highly preferential access we've given to Peru to help its economic development and to fight drugs.


The Peru agreement fixes this inequity. More than leveling the playing field, the U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that our exports will significantly out-pace imports to the United States from Peru, increasing by more than one billion dollars. Combined with other commercial benefits, the Peru TPA is estimated to add $2.1 billion to our economy. (State-by-state benefit breakdown.) And if our previous FTAs are any indication, these early estimates are very conservative.


The geopolitical advantages of the Peru TPA can't be ignored either. Next door, Venezuela's authoritarian leader Hugo Chavez is waging a war of words against the U.S. in Latin America. But rather than embrace his anti-democratic, anti-free market rhetoric, Peru's leaders have embraced market-oriented policies that are helping to bolster Peru as one of the fastest growing emerging economies. This is just the kind of friend we want in Latin America. For this reason, Congress needs to take action and approve our agreements with Colombia and Panama.