Coalition to Congress: Pass S. Korean FTA

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGON – A diverse agriculture coalition of more than 60 industry associations and companies, including the American Meat Institute, is calling on Congress to immediately approve the Korea-US Free-Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).

“Risks for US agriculture – and they are extremely serious – arise if the KORUS FTA is not implemented,” stated the letter sent to members of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. “If this agreement is rejected, we stand to relinquish our export sales to countries that have implemented their own FTAs with Korea.”

There are 13 such agreements in place or in the works involving some 50 nations around the world, the letter pointed out. They include some major agricultural producing and exporting countries: Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the 27-nation European Union, Mexico, Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), Peru and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc.

South Korea’s FTA with the European Union is set to enter into force on July 1.

“This, coupled with the failure to implement the KORUS FTA, will put US food and agriculture products at a severe disadvantage with respect to competition from the European Union in the Korean market,” the letter further stated.

The letter mentions an analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation, which found the KORUS FTA would result in $1.8 billion in additional sales to Korea, a 46% increase over existing sales. The letter noted this analysis appears very conservative according to Dr. Hayes of Iowa State University and the AMI, which forecast increased US beef, pork and poultry exports alone to be more than $2.1 billion.

“We can either lose jobs as our market share declines in Korea, or we can create new jobs by expanding exports to that market. We urge Congress to choose the latter. In addition, we urge Congress to work with the Obama administration so that the Colombia and Panama trade agreements also may soon be sent to Congress for approval. These agreements, like the KORUS, will generate additional agricultural exports and create new jobs,” the letter concluded.

Click here to read the entire letter.
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