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AFIA urges congressional approval of trade agreements

Published on 10 September, 2008, Last updated at 04:50 GMT
The American Feed Industry Association today joined several dozen organizations with roots in agriculture to call on members of Congress to approve pending trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama.

With Congress preparing to recess in a few weeks, AFIA and other agricultural organizations believe now is the time for consideration of these agreements.

“AFIA members and their suppliers, customers and employees stand to benefit from increased trading opportunities in the global economy,” said Joel Newman, president and chief executive officer. “We are pleased to join other agricultural organizations to show our support for congressional passage of these important agreements that have been in the works for years.”

Earnings from U.S. agricultural exports account for 20 percent to 30 percent of total farm income, according to a coalition organization formed to promote increased trade. Exports in 2007 reached nearly $90 billion—an all-time record.

South Korea is one of the world’s most highly protected markets for agricultural products. The country’s average annual tariff rate is 52 percent, with tariff rates on certain products at more than 100 percent. If the U.S.-Korea trade agreement is approved, nearly $2 billion in U.S. farm exports would become duty-free, and most tariffs and quotas would be phased out.

The pending agreement with Colombia would provide immediate, duty-free treatment to more than half of U.S. agricultural exports. Currently, no U.S. agricultural products receive duty-free treatment when entering Colombia, yet nearly 100 percent of that country’s exports to the U.S. receive duty-free treatment. U.S. agricultural exports to Colombia were $1.22 billion in 2007.

If the trade agreement with Panama is completed, more than half the U.S. agricultural products entering that country will do so free of duties, and most remaining farm products will become eligible for free access over 15 years.

AFIA is one of the nation’s foremost agribusiness associations, and it is devoted exclusively to representing the business, legislative, regulatory, advocacy and educational needs of the animal feed and pet food industry and its suppliers.

AFIA members include approximately 500 domestic and international companies, as well as state, national and regional agribusiness associations. Members include feed and pet food manufacturers, livestock and poultry integrators, animal health companies, ingredient suppliers, equipment manufacturers and companies which supply other products and services to feed and pet food manufacturers. AFIA members represent more than 70 percent of the commercial feed and pet food manufactured in the U.S. each year.

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