NCBA calls for implementation of pending trade agreements

May 20, 2011
by WLJ
NCBA calls for implementation of pending trade agreements

The month of May is World Trade Month and National Beef Month. This combination spurred three letters from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) to urge President Obama, members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to expedite the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.

NCBA President Bill Donald said the U.S. cannot afford to wait any longer.

“Each day that goes by without implementing these agreements is another day we risk losing American jobs by losing market share to other countries. With 96 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, future growth of the U.S. economy depends upon our ability to produce and sell products competitively in the global marketplace,” said Donald. “Economic globalization is not simply a matter of ideological or political preference; it is a fundamental reality that will determine whether America remains an economic superpower or a secondary economic force.”

According to Donald, all cuts of U.S. beef exported to Korea are hit with a 40 percent tariff, resulting in more than $200 million in tariffs in 2010. The Korea, U.S. trade agreement would phase out South Korea’s 40 percent tariff on beef imports, with $15 million in tariff benefits for beef in the first year of the agreement alone and about $325 million in tariff reductions annually once fully implemented. Donald said Colombia places up to an 80 percent tariff on U.S. beef imports, making it one of the highest tariffs U.S. beef faces anywhere in the world. Once the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement is implemented, this agreement immediately provides duty-free access for U.S. beef and reduces tariffs on all other beef and beef products over 15 years. Similarly, he said the Panama Free Trade Agreement would eliminate the 30 percent tariff on Prime and Choice cuts and duties on all other cuts would be phased out over 15 years. — WLJ