U.S. President George Bush has issued a proclamation putting into effect a free trade agreement with Peru.

U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said Friday the proclamation marks an important milestone in the relationship between the U.S. and Peru.

The agreement gives Peru permanent, duty-free access to the U.S. In return, Peru will eliminate duties on most U.S. industrial and consumer products.

The pact was initially approved after discussions between President Bush and Peruvian President Alan Garcia, but Democrats in Congress forced U.S. officials to reopen negotiations and add stronger labor and environmental provisions.

Peru's Congress this week passed modifications to earlier legislation to conform with the trade pact.

The agreement will take effect on the first of February.