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Greg Martin How FTA’s Help Beef
by Greg Martin, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: October 24, 11

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How FTA’s Help Beef. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

On Friday morning, President Barack Obama signed the three agreements and the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance program. National Cattle Beef Association President Bill Donald said the long-awaited implementation of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea is a step in the right direction.

DONALD: This is a great day for cattlemen all across the United States with President Obama signing these long-awaited trade agreements. They’ve been negotiated for over 5 years and we were impressed that the Congress acted in such a bipartisan, rapid fashion to get them passed and we were asking the President to sign them so that’s good news for America’s cattlemen.

Donald talks about what happens when the tariffs go away.

DONALD: Currently the value of U.S. cattle exports is over $200 per animal and we are doing that while we have a 40% tariff on countries like South Korea, 80% from Columbia. Both tariffs are going to go away under these free trade agreements and what this means is that the consumers in those countries are going to be able to enjoy U.S. beef at a lot lower cost. That’s going to increase demand. That’s going to put more dollars in the pockets of U.S. cattlemen. So it’s a win-win. It’s a win for the consumers in those countries and it’s a win for the cattlemen in the United States.

Sustainability is a big buzz word these days and it means a lot of things to different people. Donald says for him it’s about the next generation.

DONALD: Well, when I think of sustainability I think about our family and our ability to pass the ranch on from generation to generation and we do that by being good stewards of the land, being good caretakers of our animals but it also has to be a profitability component and this is going to help that component immensely because it’s like putting a product on sale for 40% off in countries like Korea and we get to keep the same amount of money so that’s going to help us be here for not just this generation but generations to come.

One thing they hope to see out of these agreements is an even greater export market open up.

DONALD: We’re hoping that this agreement with South Korea can be used as a template in the entire Asian, Pacific Rim. Because we’ve got some issues there with countries that have artificial trade barriers such as Japan and China and I hope that as they see this implemented and see the benefits to South Korea and how it’s going to enhance trade between our countries that they will follow suit.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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