Free Trade Agreements Will Bolster Dairy Sector, Western Dairy Group Says

October 14, 2011 12:39 PM

Source: Western United Dairymen


Western United Dairymen (WUD) this week applauded passage by the House and Senate of three free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. 

“We appreciate all of the hard work by members of Congress who made these agreements possible,” said WUD President Jamie Bledsoe. “WUD has for many years backed passage of these trade pacts and it is satisfying to see Congress finally pass this legislation. These agreements will help level the playing field with our foreign competitors. Now we hope all parties will act quickly to see these agreements are implemented so that California dairy families can begin to enjoy the economic benefit of expanding these dairy export markets.” 

Bledsoe pointed out that expanded export markets not only help bolster milk prices but also expand sales and jobs in the dairy processing and transportation sectors. Nationally, it is estimated that as many as 10,000 additional jobs, both on and off the farm could be created by the Korea agreement alone.  
CEO Michael Marsh noted that the export gain for dairy from the Korea FTA in the first few years after implementation will be approximately $380 million per year, on average, and the gains from the Colombia and Panama FTAs will add another $50 million annually to U.S. producers’ revenue.  
California’s agricultural exports to all countries, estimated at $12.5 billion in 2009, supported about 10,500 jobs on and off the farm. These export sales make an important contribution to the California farm economy, which had total cash receipts of $34.8 billion in 2009.
“These agreements will create a more level playing field for American farmers and ranchers by eliminating the barriers U.S. dairy exporters face in these three markets,” said Marsh.

Tom Suber, president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council said the industry estimates that as many as 10,000 additional U.S. jobs, both on and off the farm, could be created by the Korea agreement alone.
“The growth in exports of dairy products from these agreements will not only help bolster milk prices for America’s dairy farms, it will also expand jobs in the dairy processing and transportation sectors,” he said. “The FTAs represent a big win-win for all elements of the U.S. dairy industry.”
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