Plan would double ag exports in five years
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the Coalition of Service Industries (CSI) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) put forth a comprehensive approach to double U.S. exports in five years—a key goal of President Obama. Under this approach, the three organizations outline policy changes needed to improve market access and level the playing field in a competitive global market. Doubling exports in five years is an ambitious but achievable goal if major changes are enacted.
The NAM, the CSI and the AFBF believe the following recommendations are essential to achieving this goal:
• Enact pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
• Pursue new trade agreements.
• Reduce non-tariff barriers.
• Improve competitiveness with investments in infrastructure and trade facilitation initiatives.
• Pursue a Doha Round agreement that expands world trade.
• Improve export promotion efforts and financing policies.
"Growth in U.S. agricultural exports will be achieved with aggressive actions to expand market opportunities and reduce trade barriers," said AFBF Director of International Policy Rosemarie Watkins. "These measures are critical for increasing U.S. agricultural competitiveness around the world and meeting the growing world demand for food with U.S. agricultural products."
"While services account for 80 percent of the U.S. economy, they account for only about 31 percent of U.S. exports, in part because of the prevalence of barriers to services trade around the world," said CSI President Bob Vastine. "If the President’s goal of doubling exports is to be realized, the U.S. government must create a supportive trade policy environment that addresses discriminatory trade barriers erected by many of our trading partners. CSI and its members are ready to partner, and we welcome our government’s leadership."
"If drastic changes are not made to double exports, our nation’s manufactured goods exports will fall nearly $300 billion short of the President’s goal in 2014," said NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Frank Vargo. "Our partners and competitors are moving forward with negotiating new free trade agreements and enacting other policies to boost exports, and the U.S. is being left behind. America needs to enact policies to make it easier for U.S. companies to reach new markets."
Packer Act comments extended
AFBF President Bob Stallman said Farm Bureau is pleased the Agriculture Department’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration has extended its comment period by 90 days on its Packers and Stockyards Act proposed rule.
"The rule’s regulatory changes will impact each operation differently. The impact of this rule on producers will vary depending on the type of animal produced on an operation, the ways the producer markets his or her product, and the location of a producer’s operation relative to slaughter and processing facilities," Stallman said. "Many other portions of the rule go beyond those issues clearly covered in Farm Bureau policy and will require additional analysis."
AFBF initially requested a 120-day extension to better analyze the economic and legal impacts of the rule on producers. AFBF will seek input from state Farm Bureaus and will submit comments.
The proposed rule carries out the requirements of the 2008 farm bill and is intended to address the increased use of contracting in the marketing and production of livestock and poultry by entities subject to the Packers and Stockyards Act. The goal of this regulation is to level the playing field between packers, live poultry dealers, and swine contractors, and the nation’s poultry growers and livestock producers.
"The American people are tired of being burned by back room deals and procedural gimmicks. My legislation holds Congress accountable and ensures a fair and open debate about cap-and-trade instead of quietly slipping it into law. It’s shocking that the majority would consider circumventing the will of the public to pass cap-and-trade in a lame duck session with zero debate in the Senate. Cap-and-trade is too broad, overreaching and economically significant to be snuck into law without a transparent and honest deliberation."
—Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) who introduced legislation that would prevent cap-and-trade from being added to a House-Senate bill if previous action has not been taken in the Senate. This means that 67 senators would have to vote to allow cap-and-trade by attaching it to a conference report during a lame duck session. This legislation would make such a move difficult.