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Chile Approves Trade Pact with US - 2003-10-23

The Chilean Senate has approved a free trade agreement with the United States.

The free trade bill passed the Senate Wednesday by 34 to 5, with five abstentions. The vote paves the way for the accord to go into effect early next year.

The pact, that the two nations signed in June, eliminates tariffs on more than 80 percent of their annual exchange.

The Chilean House of Representatives and the U.S. Congress already approved the agreement earlier this year.

Chilean officials hope the agreement will contribute to their country's economic growth. The Bush Administration sees the pact as a step towards building a Pan-American free trade zone.