U.S. lawmakers have approved a draft of a free trade agreement with Peru, two years after the accord was reached.
The Senate Finance Committee Friday voted in favor of the initial draft, clearing the way for the White House to officially submit a final version to Congress. Once that happens, lawmakers can approve or reject it, but they cannot make any changes.
The current draft of the agreement was modified earlier this year, after congressional Democrats pushed the Bush administration to include tougher environmental and labor provisions.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said in a statement Friday that she is delighted by the bipartisan vote, and she looks forward to continued pursuit of a market-opening, pro-growth trade policy.
Two-way trade between the U.S. and Peru currently nears $9 billion a year.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.