Word from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., is that his committee will hold a mock markup of draft implementing legislation for the South Korea, Colombia and Panama Free Trade Agreements Thursday.
"These free trade agreements, together with Trade Adjustment Assistance, will boost our economy by billions of dollars and create new jobs and opportunities here at home," Baucus said. "This proposal opens lucrative new markets to American ranchers, farmers and small businesses while ensuring U.S. workers have all the help they need to adapt and thrive in the 21st century global economy."
Baucus says the road to this point has not been an easy one, but the economy needs these jobs and these opportunities, but he thinks this package can get the support needed to become law and that American workers and the economy can't afford for Congress to wait any longer to move forward.
The American Soybean Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and National Corn Growers Association were all quick to welcome the news.
ASA President Alan Kemper called it a critical step in the right direction. With an agreement on Trade Adjustment Assistance reached, he says ASA is calling on Congress and the Administration to quickly advance the three trade deals in order to boost the economy. According to ASA these agreements contain significant export gains for U.S. agriculture that will only be realized by passage and implementation.
NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall encourages House and Senate leaders to put their differences aside and work together to implement these agreements as quickly as possible. According to Woodall these trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea have been collecting dust for nearly five years while U.S. farmers and ranchers lose market-share. He says enough is enough.
NCGA President Bart Schott says it's frustrating as a producer to watch other nations achieve preferential access to markets and secure a competitive advantage over U.S. corn and corn products. He says this movement on the pending FTAs is encouraging and NCGA will work with Congress to ensure swift passage.