WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Agriculture industry organizations recently applauded the U.S. administration’s renewed push for the passage of three pending bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

“We are encouraged by the administration’s submission of the long-standing free trade agreements (FTAs) for ratification by Congress,” said Dr. Wendell Shauman, USGC chairman and Illinois corn farmer. “Passage of these agreements will help to immediately level the playing field and allow organizations like the Council to aggressively re-engage with our international partners and win back lost market share.”

According to government and industry estimates, the three FTAs will result in an additional $2.5 billion in additional sales and lead to the creation of over 20,000 jobs, which are critical to creating economic growth and employment for U.S. citizens. Lack of ratification has led to loss of U.S. exports and market share, as a number of foreign competitors have aggressively pursued favorable trade deals that place U.S. exporters at a competitive disadvantage.

“The three trade agreements are critical components of U.S. competitiveness in the international marketplace. Once ratified, they will offer immediate duty-free or preferential treatment for U.S. coarse grains exports of and most U.S. agricultural commodities. This will not only benefit U.S. producers, but will also enhance each country’s ability to meet the needs of its growing middle class for high-quality protein products at low cost to consumers,” said Shauman.

Soybean farmers look forward to increased exports of soybeans and soy products, and domestically produced livestock and poultry that consume soy. "But these export gains can only be realized by passage and implementation of the three trade agreements. After nearly a five-year delay, we have experienced firsthand the loss of U.S. market share to competitors in those markets, said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean producer from Lafayette, Indiana, U.S. "We urge Congress and the White House to work together to take full advantage of the economic boost that these FTAs provide the American economy.”

The ASA has been working for a number of years toward passage of these trade agreements. ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA’s advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by over 21,000 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown.