Progress on FTAs in the Senate

The National Corn Growers Association and American Soybean Association (ASA) is very pleased that the Senate Finance Committee will hold a “mock” markup of the draft implementing bills for the South Korea, Colombia, and Panama Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) later this week. The ASA has been working for a number of years toward passage of these trade agreements because increased exports of U.S. soy and soy-fed meat and poultry will benefit soybean farmers and rural economies. Passage of these three trade agreements combined represents nearly $3 billion of additional agriculture exports to these trading partners.

“This is a critical step in the right direction,” said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Ind. “Now that an agreement on Trade Adjustment Assistance has been reached, we call on Congress and the Administration to quickly advance these trade agreements in order to boost our economy.”

The Finance Committee will consider the draft implementing bills during a “mock” markup because Congress cannot offer amendments to the final implementing bills submitted by the Administration under the Trade Promotion Authority Act – also known as “fast track” – procedures. Following Administration review of any amendments that the Finance and Ways and Means Committees approve on the draft implementing bills, final versions of the implementing bills will be submitted to Congress for an up-or-down vote.

These three agreements contain significant export gains for U.S. agriculture that will only be realized by passage and implementation. Conversely, inaction has proven to result in loss of U.S. market share and forfeiture of economic growth. The U.S. government’s inability to move these agreements only benefits our foreign competitors and harms U.S. agriculture.

“ASA urges that the Senate support and pass these agreements now and take full advantage of the opportunity they provide for America’s economic growth,” Kemper said.

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