Wheat growers and other agricultural producers are in Washington this week to again emphasize to Administration and Hill leaders how vital it is to finalize pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
The wheat industry’s top trade priority remains the Colombia agreement, which is key to maintaining more than $90 million in wheat exports to Colombia every year. U.S. wheat faces competition in Colombia from Argentina, which enjoys advantages from the Mercosur trade agreement allowing for duty-free access, and Canada, which is poised to soon approve its own free trade agreement.
Speaking at the press conference on behalf of the U.S. wheat industry was Dale Schuler, a former National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) president and current chairman of the NAWG/U.S. Wheat Associates Joint International Trade Policy Committee.
This week Russell Nemetz with the Northern Ag Network spoke with Dale Schuler about the U.S. Wheat Industry’s message to members of Congress.
During his State of the Union address, President Obama listed trade as a priority. Schuler explains the reaction so far in Washington, DC.
U.S. Wheat Associates estimates that, at current export prices, failure to ratify the U.S.-Colombia FTA could lead to an annual loss of more than $92 million for the U.S. wheat industry.
On the other hand, analysis by the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) suggests that if the Colombia FTA were in effect now, U.S. wheat exports would be 20 million bushels greater and the farm price would be 10 cents per bushel higher.
This is postive news, explains Schuler.
Producer members of organizations representing wheat, corn, beef and pork, along with the American Farm Bureau Federation also spoke to reporters at the National Press Club this week.
Source: NAWG & USW
Posted by Russell Nemetz