Senate Votes in Favor of Pending Trade Pacts
— NCBA Urges President Obama to Sign Trade Deals
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today, Oct. 12, 2011, voted in favor of the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The agreements are now headed to the president’s desk for final approval. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Bill Donald said Congress put differences aside to pass the trade deals. He said the president needs to follow suit and ratify the agreements immediately.
“For too long, the trade agreements have been collecting dust. Congress has finally passed all three trade pacts and the only missing component is the president’s stamp of approval,” said Donald. “NCBA has been a leader in educating members on Congress on the importance of these agreements to cattlemen across the country. We strongly urge the president to ratify the agreements today.”
According to Donald, cattlemen have a lot to gain when the agreements are fully implemented and a lot to lose with every day the pacts are stalled. He said the best example of what U.S. cattle producers have to gain is found in the FTA with Korea (KORUS). According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, annual exports of U.S. beef to South Korea are expected to increase as much as $1.8 billion once the agreement is fully implemented. Implementation of KORUS would phase out over 15 years South Korea’s 40 percent tariff on beef imports, with $15 million in tariff benefits for beef in the first year of the agreement alone and about $325 million in tariff reductions annually once fully implemented.
“This president wants to create economic wealth and repopulate rural America. Doing anything to stymie free and open trade will do anything but create jobs and opportunities for farmers, ranchers and small businesses,” said Donald. “We support the president’s goal to increase exports. We need him to end the five-year delay and sign all three agreements.”