NCBA Cautiously Optimistic on Movement of Pending Trade Pacts
— President Obama Sends Three Trade Agreements to Congress
WASHINGTON – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Bill Donald today, Oct. 3, 2011, welcomed news that President Obama sent the three pending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to Congress. Donald said the long-awaited agreements moved from the president’s desk to Congress, which he called very encouraging but also cautioned that the agreements are far from implemented.
“Today marks the biggest leap forward we have seen in nearly five years when the trade pact with Colombia was signed,” said Donald. “Our entire country, especially rural America, is nearing a historic moment. These three agreements will create roughly 250,000 jobs right here in the United States and increase profitability for our nation’s family farmers and ranchers.”
Donald said cattlemen will not rest easy until the agreements are fully implemented but commended members of Congress for their longstanding support of free trade.
The U.S. House of Representatives will consider the Generalized System of Preferences, which includes Trade Adjustment Assistance, alongside the trade agreements. NCBA Manager of Legislative Affairs Kent Bacus is hopeful that the “tremendous bipartisan support” of all three FTAs in the House and Senate will push the pacts to final passage very soon. However, Bacus said he will make no assumptions about a timeline.
“Given the history of these trade agreements, which have fallen victim to political games on several occasions, we are not about to make any projections,” said Bacus. “Farmers and ranchers need these agreements. Our economy needs these agreements. We need Congress to pass these job-generating trade pacts as soon as possible.”