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President Bush, Peruvian President Garcia Meet


Peruvian President Alan Garcia says he hopes his country's free trade agreement with the United States will help his country fight poverty and achieve security through democracy.

President Garcia met with U.S. President George Bush Tuesday at the White House to discuss the free trade agreement, which the U.S. Congress has yet to ratify. Peruvian lawmakers ratified the agreement earlier this year.

President Bush told reporters after the meeting that he will push for congressional approval of the free trade pact "as soon as possible."

The two leaders also discussed the illegal drug trade. Mr. Garcia said he sees the free trade agreement as a tool to fight the illegal drug industry, by providing alternate tools for economic growth.

The deal makes 80 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial goods duty-free in Peru. It also renders duty-free two-thirds of U.S. farm exports to Peru.

Mr. Garcia will later meet with economic officials, including representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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