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Bush Signs Extension of Andean Free Trade Deal

U.S. President George Bush has approved an extension of a trade agreement with four South American nations.

Mr. Bush Thursday said the Andean Trade Preference Act shows the U.S. commitment to economic growth in the region. The measure, first enacted in 1991, lifts trade barriers with Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

But, the president said he has proposed suspending Bolivia's trade preferences because the country has failed to cooperate with the United Sates on efforts to fight drug trafficking.

Mr. Bush also reiterated his call for Congress to approve free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

Citing the current financial crisis, Mr. Bush said keeping markets open to trade and investment is one of the best ways to restore global economic confidence.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.