Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184
WASHINGTON – In a letter sent to House and Senate leadership and all members of Congress, 42 agriculture and food groups urged legislators to pass and implement the three free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama. The groups that signed the letter, which included the American Farm Bureau Federation, stressed that the U.S. is losing market share and other economic opportunities to our foreign competitors who are gaining preferential treatment and access at our expense.
In the letter they write:
"Failure to implement the agreement [with Korea] would not only prevent us from taking advantage of this large and growing market, it would cede our market share to competitors that already have in place or are negotiating their own FTAs with Korea....
"Not only have we lost two or three years of benefits of duty-free or reduced-tariff access to the Colombian market under a U.S. FTA, we now face the certainty that Canada's producers will instead reap those benefits.... In the U.S. meat industry alone we stand to lose $127 million in exports and nearly 1,626 additional jobs.
"The most important thing now is to avoid perpetuating these losses and seeing them mushroom in the years to come by failing to implement U.S. FTAs as soon as possible.
"The fact is, literally hundreds of FTAs are being negotiated around the world, and global trade liberalization is taking place. But it is taking place with the United States standing on the sidelines."