Today, Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement regarding legislation introduced by Senator Hoeven (R-ND) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI) that ties repeal of country of origin labeling (COOL) to both the elimination of existing market driven programs and the establishment of a so-called voluntary country of origin (COOL) labeling program for beef, pork, and chicken. This new voluntary program would operate under similar rules as the program found to violate U.S. international trade rules.
The Ag Minute: Failure to Act on Trade Agreements Equals Lost Opportunities for Agriculture
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, Chairman Frank Lucas, discusses the need to capitalize on recent developments with tangible action on the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. Every day the U.S. delays implementing these agreements, there are lost opportunities for job creation and economic growth. Chairman Lucas encourages President Obama to do the work necessary to ensure they are implemented by mid-year.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"The news last week that President Obama was making plans to move forward with the Colombia free trade agreement was encouraging and long overdue.
"The President’s inaction on the three pending trade agreements has cost rural America in lost sales and unnecessary tariffs. We can quantify the cost of delay. On $2.6 billion in lost exports, the additional economic activity could have been another $3.8 billion for our economy.
"Additionally, we are losing ground to our fiercest competitors who are racing to implement their own agreements with Colombia and other key markets.
"Each and every American can benefit from opening markets for our exports. American farmers and ranchers are so efficient they are able to produce more than enough food to feed this nation. U.S. agricultural exports currently support nearly 900,000 jobs. And, historically, agriculture has worked hard to maintain a trade surplus even during the most recent economic downturn.
"The importance of ratifying the Colombia agreement is simple. It not only would strengthen relations with an important ally and trading partner, but would open the door for more than $900 million in previously untapped market access.
"We cannot afford any more delays. It’s time to move forward on these agreements."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released each Tuesday from the House Agriculture Committee.