With Congress coming back from recess, now is the time for farmers and their agricultural partners to contact legislators and remind them of the importance of the pending free-trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. “By letting them to know that America's farmers want a level, open playing field upon which to compete, friends of agriculture can help move these essential agreements forward,” according to the National Corn Growers Association.
Some progress has already been made. On April 18, a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) went into effect between the United States and Panama. The Panamanian government also has taken a series of legislative and administrative actions to further strengthen its labor laws and enforcement.
United States Trade Representative Kirk announced that the Office of the United States Trade Representative had completed its preparatory work on the Panama FTA and was ready to begin technical discussions with Congress on the draft implementing bill and draft Statement of Administrative Action, NCGA reports.
This past week, the Obama administration announced that it remains confident that each of the
three pending FTAs will be sent to Congress this year. The Korea and Panama FTAs are ready for Congressional consideration now. Exact timing will depend on negotiations with Congressional leaders and other aspects of the administration's broader trade agenda including the renewal of several expired trade programs, NCGA reports.
NCGA encourages members to write to their congressmen, and can go to NCGA.com for additional information and guidance.