The Ag Minute: The Importance of Free Trade Agreements to Agriculture

Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184

WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, Ranking Member Frank Lucas highlights the importance of free trade agreements to agriculture.

Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.

"Export markets are critically important to America's agricultural industry. One fourth of everything our farmers produce is exported. USDA estimates that exports generate on average 30 percent of annual farm cash receipts.

"But, instead of pursuing an export strategy to help spur economic growth, there is a growing sentiment in this administration to retreat to protectionism, which has sparked trade wars with our largest trading partners.

"The Democratic leadership has delayed consideration of three pending free trade agreements we have with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Early expectations indicate these free trade agreements would add over $2.7 billion in additional U.S. agricultural exports to these markets. This market potential is very important in the current economic climate.

"Without robust, foreign markets for our farmers and ranchers, the trade surplus we have in agriculture will all but disappear.

"It's time to make good on our negotiations. It's time to level the playing field for our farmers and ranchers. It's time to consider these free trade agreements."

The Ag Minute is Ranking Member Lucas' weekly radio address that is released each Tuesday from the House Agriculture Committee Republicans.