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Freshman House Republicans Urge Obama to Move Forward on Pending Free Trade Agreements

Thursday, March 3, 2011

(American Meat Institute)

In a letter this week to President Obama, 67 freshman Republican members of the House of Representatives affirmed their commitment to the swift passage of three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

“We stand ready to work with you to ensure that new opportunities are created for our farmers, manufacturers, service providers and workers by passing the three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea within the next six months,” the representatives wrote. 

The House members also praised the administration’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2014, but to achieve it, the three free trade agreements must be implemented, they wrote.

“Our three pending agreements have languished, while our partners have aggressively pursued negotiations that exclude the U.S. and put American workers at a competitive disadvantage,” the letter noted.  “The time has come to put rhetoric into action.”

To view a copy of the full letter, click here: http://bit.ly/g11l1B.

To derive estimates on the impact of full implementation of these three free trade agreements on U.S. exports and job creation, AMI in 2010 worked closely with the National Pork Producers Council, Iowa State University, USDA’s ERS, U.S. Meat Export Federation and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council to conduct a comprehensive impact analysis. 

Results of the impact study found that passage of the Korean, Colombian and Panamanian agreements would represent an additional $2.3 billion in exports and the creation of 29,524 new jobs.  Many of these jobs are in rural areas of the U.S. where prospects of true economic development are seldom presented.

The data also reveal that passage of the agreements could increase U.S. exports of beef by $1.4 billion, pork by $772 million and poultry by $102 million. The jobs resulting from this growth, both in the commodity groups and downstream, would include an estimated 18,000 jobs in the beef industry, 10,300 jobs in the pork industry and 1,200 jobs in the poultry industry.

Next week, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is set to testify on all three agreements before the Senate Finance Committee and the President’s Export Council will hold a public meeting to discuss topics related to the National Export Initiative and the promotion of U.S. exports, jobs and growth.

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