Implementation of Free Trade Agreements Should Happen Now

Action on free trade must happen NOW

The government continues to delay in implementing three important free trade agreements. These pending agreements are with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea and with each passing delay, the United States loses ground to market competitors in these countries.

These agreements have already been negotiated and signed with only a Congressional vote needed to make their passage a reality. Once passed, these agreements would increase agricultural exports by almost $3 billion and spur the creation of tens of thousands on jobs in the United States.

Here is what each trade agreement would do:

Colombia

  • Open up access to a $900 million market
  • Give U.S. agriculture exporters duty-free benefits on goods
  • Eliminate tariffs as high as 20% on the $202 million in U.S. processed food exports

Panama

  • Eliminate the tariffs and quotas that 60% of U.S. agricultural exports to Panama face
  • Remove the duty on poultry exported from the U.S. to Panama that can be as high as 260% of its value

South Korea

  • Give immediate duty-free access to two-thirds of agricultural exports from the United States
  • Allow American agriculture access to $1.9 billion in new markets.
  • Phase out tariffs and quotas on most products within 10 years, tariffs that average 54% on agricultural products

The longer we wait to act on these agreements, the harder it will be for U.S. famers and producers to compete against foreign competitors. The Senate leadership has agreed to move forward with these three agreements and I urge them to do so in September. Once they have approved them, the House will take them up as well. These agreements will help our economy and the struggling agricultural community to continue to grow.

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