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CHEMICAL GROUP ENDORSES NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE

 CHEMICAL GROUP ENDORSES NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Chemical


Industry Council (PCIC) has endorsed prompt adoption of the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) calling it an "important step towards strengthening markets for Pennsylvania and American goods." PCIC is calling on the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation and U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter and Harris Wofford to support the agreement.
 PCIC Chairman Hermann Ortega said the agreement "makes good business sense for Pennsylvania. Canada is Pennsylvania's number one trading partner and Mexico is number five."
 According to Ortega, easing of Mexican trade barriers has already begun to benefit Pennsylvania firms. Ortega, who is vice president and General Manager of Chemicals for Allentown-based Air Products and Chemicals Inc., reports that Pennsylvania exports to Mexico tripled from 1987 to 1990, rising from $181 million to $583 million during that period.
 Ortega says NAFTA will create jobs in Pennsylvania. The chemical trade association leader cites statistics that show that 98 percent of Pennsylvania exports to Mexico are manufactured products and 14 percent of these are chemicals.
 Ortega says chemical manufacturers would be one of many Pennsylvania industries to benefit from reduced restrictions. PCIC's 74 member firms currently employ over 50,000 Pennsylvanians.
 Ortega says PCIC also supports the bilateral negotiations between Mexico and the U.S. on environmental issues. "We want the Mexicans to improve their performance on environmental protection," said Ortega, "and we are willing to give them the assistance they need to do so." Ortega predicted that increased trade between the two nations would lead to improved environmental protection in the region. "Increased trade will provide the funds for environmental technologies," said Ortega.
 Ultimately, the proposal, which would end tariffs and trade restrictions between the US, Canada and Mexico, will require Congressional confirmation.
 /delval/
 -0- 2/10/92
 /CONTACT: David Patti of the PCIC, 717-232-6681/ CO: Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council ST: Pennsylvania IN: CHM SU:


JS -- PH011 -- 8227 02/10/92 11:03 EST
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Date:Feb 10, 1992
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