WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk announced on Jan. 22 that after nearly four years he will leave his post as USTR at the end of February.
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) thanked Kirk for his commitment to promoting global trade during his tenure.
“The NCGA greatly appreciates and thanks U.S. Trade Representative Kirk for his tireless efforts to promote American agricultural products in the global marketplace,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said. “We applaud his efforts to pass and implement the three free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama. In addition, we appreciate the pivotal role he played in lifting the outdated Jackson-Vanik amendment.”
The free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama represent the largest package since Congress passed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993. Statistics show full implementation of the agreements will result in an estimated $2.3 billion in additional agricultural trade in 2012 and beyond and support nearly 20,000 domestic jobs.
Last December, Congress lifted the decades old Jackson-Vanik restrictions and granted permanent normal trade relations with Russia. This will allow America’s farmers to benefit from Russia’s guaranteed tariff treatment and obligation to apply science-based sanitary and phytosanitary standards. 
“NCGA remains committed to the development and maintenance of fair and open global trade practices, including advancing the Trans Pacific Partnership,” Johnson said.  “We congratulate Trade Representative Kirk’s ability to lead in TPP negotiations and raise the bar for a new 21st century trade agreement. We look forward to working on these and other issues with his successor.”