On Monday, three letters were sent from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to urge President Obama, members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to expedite the three pending trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. NCBA President Bill Donald said the United States cannot afford to wait any longer to implement the trade pacts.
"Each day that goes by without implementing these agreements is another day we risk losing American jobs by losing market share to other countries," Donald said. "Future growth of the U.S. economy depends upon our ability to produce and sell products competitively in the global marketplace. Economic globalization is not simply a matter of ideological or political preference; it is a fundamental reality that will determine whether America remains an economic superpower or a secondary economic force."
Donald says if Congress approves these agreements, the United States will ultimately have free trade for U.S. beef with approximately two-thirds of the population in the Western Hemisphere.
The pork industry is also imploring the government to act. The National Pork Producers Council and 39 state pork associations sent a letter to Republican and Democrat leaders in the Senate and House urging them to approve the three pending free trade agreements. They are pushing for a vote as soon as possible after receiving enabling legislation from the White House.
"These countries are crucial markets for U.S. agricultural products, and the industry stands to gain sales with implementation of the FTAs," said NPPC President Doug Wolf. "These trade agreements will add significantly to producers' bottom line and create thousands of pork industry jobs."
In their letter, NPPC and the state pork associations pointed out that if the U.S. fails to implement the three FTAs, these potential gains will become losses as the U.S. relinquishes export sales to countries that have implemented their own FTAs with Colombia, Panama and Korea. An Iowa State University economist estimates, once implemented, U.S. pork producers could be exporting an extra $770 million worth of pork.