FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Tricia Braid
BLOOMINGTON, Ill – Earlier today, the Columbia, Panama, and Korea Free Trade Agreements were passed out of the House Ways and Means committee The Columbia vote was 24-12; Panama vote was 32-3; and Korea vote was 31-5, all in favor.
Illinois corn farmers appreciate House members’ recognition that every minute these Free Trade Agreements sit without decision is another minute that corn farmers go without vital market opportunities and American’s miss the benefits of increased economic growth. Specifically, the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) thanks Congressmen Schock and Roskam for their “yes” votes to pass these bills out of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“All three FTAs provide significant opportunities for U.S. agriculture by immediately eliminating import duties on the vast majority of U.S. agricultural commodities, such as corn and other coarse grains and co-products,” stated Paul Taylor, ICGA Export Committee Chair.
Global trade is important to Illinois farmers. According to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, Illinois feed grain exports to all countries totaled $1.7 billion in 2009, while all ag product exports reached $5.5 billion.
According to government and industry estimates, the three FTAs will result in an additional $2.5 billion in additional sales and lead to the creation of over 20,000 jobs, which are critical to creating economic growth and employment for U.S. citizens.
“Each of these countries are important markets for U.S. coarse grains and co-products and the FTAs offer significant opportunities for growth,” said Taylor.
ICGA looks forward to working with other House and Senate members to continue the quick movement of all three Free Trade Agreements through Congress.