Congressional FTA Passage

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

 Oct.13, 2011 – The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is pleased with the vote of approval today by both the U.S. House and Senate to support implementation of U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

"We commend Congress for approval of these FTAs.  We hope to see all of them entered into force as soon as possible.  Illinois soybean farmers can benefit from more open trade opportunities with all three markets," says Matt Hughes, soybean farmer from Shirley, and ISA chairman.  The lack of FTAs has affected both U.S. market share and economic growth."

The three trade agreements combined represent nearly $3 billion of additional agricultural exports.  Analysis performed by Informa Economics confirms market potential.  The Colombia FTA will benefit soybean farmers by immediately eliminating tariffs ranging from five to 20 percent on soybeans, soybean meal and soy flour, and phase-out 24 percent tariffs for crude and refined soybean oil over five years.  Most exports from Colombia already enter the United States duty-free, and the FTA will correct the current tariff imbalance in agricultural trade.

The Korea FTA will increase exports of major grain, oilseed, fiber, fruit and vegetable, and livestock products by $1.8 billion annually.  The agreement offers immediate duty-free access to U.S. soybeans for crushing and to U.S. soybean meal.  It also opens up South Korea’s food-grade soybean imports to the private sector.  The Panama FTA will benefit soybean farmers by removing immediately the tariffs on U.S. soybeans, soybean meal and crude vegetable oils.

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is the statewide organization for Illinois soybean growers.  The farmers on its board administer soybean checkoff funds to support research, promotions, and educational programs designed to increase demand for Illinois soybeans and administer legislation and membership programs. For more information, visit: www.ilsoy.org