Cattlemen commend House vote on Peru trade agreement
WASHINGTON - Export opportunities for American cattle ranchers got a boost today when the House of Representatives approved the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement by a vote of 285 to 132.
“For U.S. cattlemen, the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement is one of the best-negotiated free trade agreements to date, providing for immediate duty-free access for U.S. prime and choice beef,” says Stacey Satterlee, director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). “This gives U.S. producers the ability to compete aggressively against Argentinean and Brazilian beef in these markets.”
NCBA is working with a coalition of ag industry groups in support of this agreement, which presents a great opportunity for American agriculture, and especially for beef producers. Under the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement:
- U.S. choice and prime beef will have immediate duty-free access.
- All tariff rate quotas will be eliminated within 12 years.
- Peru has committed to recognize the U.S. meat inspection system as equivalent to its own, thereby allowing imports from facilities approved by USDA-FSIS.
- Peru has committed in writing to specific Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) terms.
It’s also important to note that beef comprises less than 8 percent of Peru’s total agriculture gross domestic product, making it an exceptional export growth opportunity for U.S. beef. In 2003, Peru was a $6 million export market for U.S. beef, beef variety meats and beef products. This improved access could amount to roughly $15 million a year - about half the value of Peru's current total beef imports.
“America’s cattlemen rely on our nation’s policymakers to support a pro-trade agenda in order to grow their businesses and help support the U.S. economy,” says Satterlee. “A vote for expanding trade is a vote for American agriculture and small business.”
The trade agreement with Peru is one of several waiting for Congressional consideration. “While we are urging swift passage of the Peru agreement in the Senate, we are also looking to Congress to consider the Colombia and Panama free trade agreements. These are well-negotiated agreements and Congress needs to ratify them!”