WASHINGTON – Congress is being urged by the American Meat Institute and about 50 other trade organizations to support President Obama’s pledge to double U.S. exports within five years as a way to create millions of new jobs in the U.S.

“International trade is critically important to the farmers, ranchers, food processors and exporters that our organizations represent,” the organizations wrote in a letter to House and Senate leaders. “Exports of the goods we produce generate over 8,000 U.S. jobs for every $1 billion we ship overseas. The economic benefits flow not only to rural communities but also to people working in transportation, processing and at our ports.”

The organizations are urging Congress to move quickly to ensure the prompt passage of the pending free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, in an effort to reach this five-year objective.

“It is critically important to our industries that Congress heed the President’s call to aggressively expand market access opportunities, as our competitors are doing,” the letter states. “The president focused on the need to create new jobs. But if our best markets are lost to our competitors, U.S. jobs will be lost not gained.”

The World Trade Organization (W.T.O.) estimates there will be more than 600 bilateral or regional-trade agreements in place by 2010, the organizations note. As of the end of 2008, 230 were in force, and of those, the U.S. was a party to only 17 of these agreements. The W.T.O. also estimates that about 400 new agreements are either pending notification to the W.T.O., are being negotiated or are in the proposal stage. Of those, the U.S. is a party only to the three pending agreements and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (T.P.P.).

Deep concern is also expressed by the organizations in the letter with legislation recently introduced in the House and Senate (H.R. 3012 and S. 2821), which would require the administration to demand the re-negotiation of all current or pending trade agreements to modify provisions to permit inclusion of certain requirements.

“We stand ready to assist the administration and the Congress to meet this critically important goal by 2015,” the letter concludes.

To read the entire letter, click: http://www.meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/57591