Farm Bureau welcomes signing of long-awaited trade agreements
» October 21, 2011 «
After nearly five years of advocacy, California farmers and ranchers can expect a long-standing boost in export opportunities after President Obama signed free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama today. The agreements reduce or eliminate tariffs for many agricultural products, and the California Farm Bureau Federation said that will lead to additional jobs as more California-grown products move to export customers.
"We welcome the president's signature on these long-awaited agreements," California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said. "At the same time as they open markets for farmers and ranchers, the trade agreements will create jobs in both rural and urban California. Reducing export barriers will also allow more people in South Korea, Panama and Colombia to benefit from the bounty of California."
The agreements are expected to boost export sales of California farm products by $239 million per year and offer $2.5 billion in additional farm exports for the nation as a whole.
"Removing trade barriers has been a priority for Farm Bureau and our members for years," Wenger said. "Farmers and ranchers have repeatedly reached out to their representatives in support of these free-trade agreements. That hard work by our members and other farm groups has succeeded, and now many more California residents can benefit. Jobs will be created throughout the economy, from the growing and harvesting to the processing and shipping of our state's crops and farm goods."
The agreements will reduce barriers in the three nations for a wide variety of California-grown farm products, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, beef and wine. Wenger noted that growers of some other California crops have expressed concerns about the agreements—including cut-flower growers who have been affected for years by flower imports from Colombia.
"Farm Bureau supports a plan by California flower growers to earn federal funding for a transportation and logistics center that would reduce their shipping costs and help California-grown flowers stay competitive with Colombian imports," Wenger said.
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of approximately 76,500 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 6.3 million Farm Bureau members.
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.Top