Waiting on Columbia Free Trade Agreement
Sep 30, 2011
By Mary Geiger, NCBA Communications
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has been a vocal supporter of passing and implementing the pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. For cattlemen, expanded exports are the best stimulus plan but we've been waiting...and waiting...and waiting...for leaders in the federal government to put their differences aside and sign, seal and deliver on these FTAs, which would generate nearly $2.5 billion in additional exports and around 20,000 jobs.
The House Ways and Means Committee is keeping track of all this waiting - 1,772 days of it with regard to the Colombia FTA - and its impact on U.S. exports.
NCBA fully supports immediate passage and implementation of the U.S.-Colombia FTA. Colombia is an important market for U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports. Unfortunately, Colombia places an 80 percent tariff on U.S. beef imports today, making it one of the highest tariffs U.S. beef faces anywhere in the world. Once implemented, this agreement immediately provides duty free access for high quality U.S. beef, reduces tariffs on all other beef and beef products over 15 years, and for the first time ever, puts American beef on a competitive footing with beef imports from Brazil and Argentina.
Recent momentum forward is welcome news no doubt but that momentum must not languish. Cattlemen continue urging President Obama to send the pending FTAs to Capitol Hill for consideration because, according to NCBA President Bill Donald, they are a stimulus package that won't cost U.S. taxpayers a dime.