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Stallman Talks Trade at Farm Progress Show

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 29, 2007 – The current U.S. bilateral trade agenda, which includes separate agreements with Peru, Colombia, Panama and South Korea, could result in a cumulative increase of $3 billion in annual sales for U.S. agriculture, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.

Participating today in Decatur, Ill., in a Farm Progress Show trade roundtable event with Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, Stallman said each of the bilateral agreements is “comprehensive and provides benefits for all sectors of U.S. agriculture.”

“Elimination of agricultural tariffs in each of these markets will assure our continued competitiveness and will increase U.S. agriculture’s advantage with other competitors in these markets,” Stallman said. “Many of our competitors already have trade agreements or are in trade negotiations with these partners.”

Stallman said Congress must vote to support the Peru, Colombia and Panama free trade agreements this fall. Once fully implemented, he said the three agreements would increase U.S. agricultural exports by nearly $1.5 billion on an annual basis.

“If Congress fails to act, these markets for U.S. agricultural products will be lost and a message will be sent around the world that the United States is not a serious trading partner,” Stallman said.

Stallman said the advantage to U.S. agriculture is clear. On average, U.S. agricultural products face tariffs of 18 percent to 30 percent entering the markets of Peru, Colombia and Panama. Currently, 99 percent of the agricultural products from those three countries enter the United States duty-free due to U.S. preference programs.

AFBF also supports the bilateral trade agreement with South Korea, on the condition that it opens its market to all U.S. beef, Stallman said.

“Positive steps are being taken by the U.S. and Korean governments to open the Korean market to all U.S. beef regardless of age and bone,” Stallman said. “Congress should vote on the Korea Trade Promotion Act as soon as U.S. beef trade resumes with Korea.”

According to economic analysis conducted by AFBF, full implementation of the Korea TPA could lead to export gains exceeding $1.6 billion per year.  These gains represent half of the current U.S. trade with Korea.

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Contacts: Mace Thornton
(202) 406-3641
macet@fb.org
Anne Keller
(202) 406-3659
annek@fb.org