Groups at Odds over FTA Submission to Congress


In what National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Bill Donald calls “the biggest leap forward we have seen in nearly five years”, President Barack Obama did send the three pending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Columbia, Panama and South Korea to Congress on Tuesday, October 3.

A day after that move, statements from industry groups are trickling in.  While most are expressing encouragement about the move, the National Farmers Union (NFU) is strong in their stance that Congress should oppose the FTAs.

In an NFU statement, President Roger Johnson states that: 

“These three agreements are similar to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Both of those agreements have worsened the U.S. trade deficit, because the U.S. does not compete on a level playing field with other nations. America adheres to higher labor and environmental standards than other nations, so U.S. companies incur costs that companies in other nations do not.”

CLICK HERE to read the rest of their statement.

Meanwhile, Bill Donald says that “These three agreements will create roughly 250,000 jobs right here in the United States and increase profitability for our nation’s family farmers and ranchers.”

Please read “President Obama Sends FTAs to Congress” for the remainder of the NCBA statement.

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) say that they are please with the sumitting of the FTAs.  They add that “The U.S. wheat industry strongly supports these bilateral agreements as critical steps toward competing on a level playing field in the global wheat market, and now urges Congress to pass them as quickly as possible.”

CLICK HERE to read their news release.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) says that they are also please that the President has sent the legislation to Congress.  Bob Stallman, AFBF President, tells that “It is vital that this process move forward to ensure the agreements will be put in place as soon as possible so we can restore a level playing field for U.S. exports to these three nations. Without these agreements, over the last four years, Korea, Colombia and Panama have opened their doors to our competitors.”

To read Bob Stallman’s full statement, CLICK HERE.

On the Congressional front, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont) is hailing the submission as a major step forward to create jobs and spur economic growth.  He also calls it a victory for American ranchers, farmers and businesses.


© Northern Ag Network 2011

Haylie Shipp



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