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AMI Urges Immediate Action on Free Trade Agreements

Friday, July 29, 2011

(American Meat Institute)

AMI joined 122 companies and organizations representing nearly all sectors of the U.S. agriculture economy in urging President Obama and members of Congress to take immediate action to implement the pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.


“The longer we wait to implement these agreements, the farther behind we will fall in these markets to our competitors,” stated the organizations in an open letter.


The organizations noted that each of these trade agreements was signed at least four years ago and since that time, the European Union initiated trade talks with Korea, finalized the deal last year and implemented it on July 1. The Korean government released figures last week showing that in the first two weeks of the EU FTA, trade volume between the two rose 17.4 percent. Exports from Korea to the EU rose 19 percent, and exports from the EU to Korea rose 16 percent. In addition, Argentina and Brazil have negotiated trade agreements through MERCOSUR with Colombia that have given them preferential access for a number of key commodities, including corn, wheat and soybeans.


“It’s difficult to watch years of market development evaporate in a matter of months because we are not able to compete on the basis of price, making the United States the residual supplier where it was once the main supplier. Studies have shown that the benefits of the trade agreements to U.S. agriculture and rural economies would be substantial. U.S. agriculture is prepared to work to achieve the full benefits of these agreements but can only do so if the U.S. government moves quickly to pass these agreements,” the letter stated.


“The seemingly endless delays on our side do not serve our economic or foreign policy interests, and they run the risk of causing long-term damage to U.S. food and farm exports,” the letter concluded.


To view the letter, click here: http://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/71335.

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