Agriculture Groups Urge Congress to Move Forward on Pending FTAs
WASHINGTON - In a joint letter sent last Thursday to House and Senate leadership, NCBA and more than 40 other national agriculture groups called on Congress to move forward on pending free trade agreements (FTAs).
"The fact is, literally hundreds of FTAs are being negotiated around the world, and global trade liberalization is taking place. But it is taking place with the United States standing on the sidelines," stated the letter.
President Obama recently announced his intention to set a November deadline for removing outstanding obstacles to the implementation of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). It's now up to Congress to take action. The Korean market is the fifth largest for U.S. agriculture exports, valued at $3.9 billion in 2009. Failure to implement the agreement would not only prevent us from taking advantage of this large and growing market, it would cede our market share to competitors that already have in place or are negotiating their own FTAs with Korea.
KORUS, however, is just one of three pending FTAs currently stalled in Congress. Agreements with Colombia and Panama have also been awaiting action for more than three years. Over the past five years, Colombia has been the largest market in South America for U.S. agricultural exports, with exports totaling $4.3 billion.