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Press Release

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Thursday, January 19, 2006

202-482-4883

U.S. and Mexico Reach Agreement in Principle on Cement Trade

NEW ORLEANS—U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez released the following statement following the agreement in principle reached between the U.S. and Mexico that will resolve a sixteen-year dispute and liberalize trade in cement between the two countries:

"The agreement is a positive step toward resolving a sixteen-year dispute between the U.S. and Mexico. The decision underscores the strong trading relationship with one of our NAFTA trading partners and our ability to resolve trade disputes in a constructive manner.

"The agreement will help ensure that Gulf Coast communities have the resources to rebuild and it will also help U.S. cement producers access the Mexican market.

"This is an important achievement for the Bush administration because it will increase the availability of cement for American home builders and buyers. Liberalizing trade in cement between the U.S. and Mexico will encourage businesses to build, and it will help to create jobs and new opportunities for our citizens.

"We will continue to work with our counterparts to finalize the text of the agreement in order to ensure that outstanding issues are resolved."