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"Beltway Beef" serves as a sounding board for the U.S. beef industry for decisions being made in Washington, D.C., that directly impact the cattle business. Posts on "Beltway Beef" are produced by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association staff and invited guests.
By Mike Deering, NCBA Communications
The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, Oct. 12, voted by a wide margin in favor of the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The agreements are now headed to the President’s desk for final approval. National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Bill Donald said Congress put differences aside to pass the trade deals.
The vote in the House was 262-167 for the Colombia pact, 300-129 on Panama and 278-151 on the South Korea accord, the largest of the three. Senators voted 83-15 for the Korean deal, while the Panamanian and Colombian accords were approved by margins of 77-22 and 66-33, respectively.
NCBA hosted a news conference where Donald, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, all spoke in favor of the trade pacts. Baucus says these agreements will level the playing field for U.S. agriculture. Brady agrees and says American producers need open access to export markets. During the news conference, all three stressed the importance of implementing the agreements quickly.
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