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Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding Positive Developments on Colombia Free Trade Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 6, 2011 – “The fact that the Obama administration has been able to strike a deal that moves the Colombia free trade agreement forward is great news for America’s farmers and ranchers. This is the kind of development that a group of Farm Bureau leaders has been pushing for the last two weeks during our visit to Colombia and Panama.

“U.S. farmers and ranchers have been losing market share in Colombia to our competitors who have trade agreements with the country. It’s time to turn the tide and recoup our losses. Colombia has duty-free access to the U.S. market, while our products face excessive tariffs to sell to Colombia’s market. When implemented, the Colombia FTA would level the playing field for U.S. farmers and ranchers by eliminating these tariffs.

“The Colombia, South Korea and Panama agreements will create expanded markets for American farm and ranch products and boost our overall economy. Together, the three agreements represent nearly $3 billion of additional agricultural exports from the United States and could generate as many as 27,000 new U.S. jobs.

“After meetings this week and last with farmers, ranchers and agricultural leaders from Colombia, we know this is a development welcomed by all sides. Trade will help the United States build stronger bonds with our Latin American neighbors, and it makes sense given our advantage of proximity and history of cooperation. The administration should work with Congress to ensure passage of all three agreements by summer so we can better our nation’s trade picture and build American jobs in the process.”

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Contacts: Tracy Taylor Grondine
(202) 406-3642
tracyg@fb.org
Mace Thornton
(202) 406-3641
macet@fb.org