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Congress Urged to Expedite Trade Agreements

by 5m Editor
1 February 2010, at 7:29a.m.

US - American Farm Bureau Federation president, Bob Stallman, is urging members of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee to take the lead in achieving President Barack Obama’s goal outlined in the State of the Union address of doubling US exports over the next five years.

In a letter on Friday (29 January) to the chairmen and ranking members of both committees, Mr Stallman urged the committee leaders to help the US achieve the president’s goal for increasing trade by expediting congressional passage of the pending Colombia, Panama and Korea free trade agreements.

Mr Stallman said passage of these agreements is critical at this time because many other countries are negotiating bilateral and regional trade agreements that are reducing US agriculture’s competitiveness and market share around the world.

“By 2010, there will be more than 600 bilateral and regional trade agreements worldwide with the US ngaged in fewer than 25,” Mr Stallman wrote.

Mr Stallman said that an aggressive trade agenda is important for the US economy and the creation of American jobs.

“About 25 per cent of the total volume of US farm production is exported, and many US commodities have a much higher dependence on trade,” Mr Stallman said. “The positive impact of exports will be diminished as long as the United States is not moving forward with our own agricultural trade agenda.”

In the letter, Stallman noted that the drop in US agricultural exports from 2008 to 2009 is estimated to have cost roughly 160,000 American jobs in the production, processing and transportation sectors. The Colombia, Panama and Korea free trade agreements combined represent almost $3 billion in additional US agricultural exports, according to Farm Bureau estimates.