Fort Worth, Texas – The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement goes into effect one week from today, signifying an end to a 5-year push to solidify 3 free trade agreements (FTA) that are expected to boost beef exports by $3 billion. The U.S.-Korea FTA took effect March 15, 2012, followed by the Colombia FTA on May 15, 2012.
“Texas ranchers have worked for nearly 5 years to see these agreements become reality,” said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and TSCRA president. “Families, both at home and abroad, want Texas beef on their tables, and now we will be able to help meet that demand. This is a win for consumers overseas and producers here in the U.S.”
Among other things, implementation of the Panama FTA results in the immediate repeal of the 30 percent tariff on prime and choice cuts of U.S. beef and begins to phase out all remaining tariffs.
According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the 3 trade agreements will increase U.S. exports by at least $13 billion and add $10 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Additionally, exports of U.S. goods generate an estimated 8,000 jobs for every billion dollars shipped overseas.
Parker says that, while implementation of the 3 FTAs is a good thing for Texas beef producers, there is still increasing potential for beef exports in other countries including China, Japan, Taiwan and the European Union.
“With the demand for beef rising, it is crucial that U.S. beef producers have a seat at the international table and that we aggressively pursue expanding market opportunities in other countries,” said Parker.
“Our global competitors are already negotiating agreements with other markets. If we don’t beat these countries to the punch, U.S. producers will be at a severe disadvantage,” Parker continued. “With 95 percent of the world’s population living outside of the U.S., we simply cannot afford to not have increased market access.”
TSCRA is a 135 year-old trade association and is the largest and oldest livestock organization based in Texas. TSCRA has more than 15,000 beef cattle operations, ranching families and businesses as members. These members represent approximately 50,000 individuals directly involved in ranching and beef production who manage 4 million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range and pasture land primarily in Texas and Oklahoma, but throughout the Southwest.