NCBA Thanks Rep. Kevin Brady for Commitment to Finalizing Pending Trade Agreements
WASHINGTON – Expanding international trade opportunities is a priority for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) in 2011. As such, NCBA praises U.S. Representative and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade Kevin Brady (R-Texas) for his recent remarks calling for the Obama administration to put forward a timeline to finalize pending agreements with Panama and Colombia and thanks him for his ongoing commitment to expand international trade.
“The U.S. beef industry was glad the Obama Administration finalized the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and set a July 1, 2011, target date for congressional approval. However, it is extremely disappointing the administration has been silent on the pending agreements with Panama and Colombia,” NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said. “Congressman Brady should be commended for his leadership on this issue and for his efforts toward developing and expanding markets for U.S. beef and other U.S.-made products.”
The Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) was signed by the U.S. Trade Representative and the Colombian trade minister on Nov. 22, 2006. Under the agreement, which is awaiting ratification by the U.S. Congress and the Colombian government, Colombia would open its markets to all U.S. beef and beef products and would immediately eliminate the 80-percent tariff on prime and choice cuts. Woodall said the Colombia TPA is one of the best negotiated free trade agreements to date. The United States and Panama concluded negotiations on a free trade agreement on Dec. 19, 2006. Panama agreed to accept imports of all U.S. beef and beef products. Additionally, the 30-percent tariff on prime and choice cuts would be immediately eliminated and the duties on all other cuts would be phased out over 15 years.
Woodall said NCBA looks forward to working with Congressman Brady and the House Ways and Means Committee on efforts to finalize pending agreements and to work on expanding trade opportunities for U.S. beef with Japan and China. He said it is clear trade will be a priority for the committee as Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has called a hearing on the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia for Jan. 25, 2011.
“The pending agreements have been stalled for far too long. It’s time to ratify them and start shipping U.S. beef to these markets. If Congress approves these agreements, the U.S. will ultimately have free trade for U.S. beef with approximately two-thirds of the population in the Western Hemisphere,” Woodall said. “NCBA stands ready to work with Congressman Brady, as well as all other members of Congress and the Administration to expand opportunities to sell U.S. beef around the world. 2010 was a great year for U.S. beef exports. Finalizing these agreements, however, would ensure that momentum continues in 2011.”