You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
A sure-fire solution to America’s job problem
By Joe Parker Jr.
If there is one thing politicians can agree on, it is that America’s current economic and job situation is downright bad, and we need to do something immediately to begin fixing it. Ratifying the stalled free trade agreements (FTA) with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea is one sure-fire way to give this economy the boost it needs without a taxpayer-funded stimulus.
Texas beef producers know how important free and fair trade agreements are to our nation’s economy. With 95 percent of the world’s population living outside the United States, common sense tells us that gaining access to that population benefits all American industries.
In 2007, the United States signed free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea, but we have yet to live up to our part of the agreements. Congress and the administration have sat idle on these FTAs for four years, causing American agriculture and other industries to lose valuable ground in markets where our competitors have been capitalizing.
Regaining broader access to markets in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea will increase exports by nearly $3 billion. Right now, demand for U.S. beef in South Korea alone has increased by 140 percent since 2009. Unfortunately, U.S. beef is hit with a 40-percent tariff before it reaches South Korean markets. Ratifying this free trade agreement will eliminate the tariff and allow U.S. beef to be available to more South Korean consumers at a more affordable price.
According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the implementation of these three pending trade agreements would increase all U.S. exports to by at least $13 billion and add $10 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Additionally, exports of U.S. goods generate more than 8,000 U.S. jobs for every billion dollars shipped overseas.
It’s simple -- more trade means more jobs, and that is a fact Congress and the administration can’t ignore.
Doing nothing on these free trade agreements is no longer an option. It has already caused the United States to lose out on economic stimulus and thousands of jobs, but it also threatens to hurt our credibility with other global markets which want to import American products. If we can’t be trusted to live up to our end of the deal, then no other country will want to make deals with us.
Lastly, we can’t forget that Texas is facing an unprecedented drought. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service estimates the livestock industry in Texas has lost more than $2 billion. If Congress will pass the pending free trade agreements, there will be a hungry market waiting for Texas beef when it finally rains and folks start rebuilding their herds.
One thing is certain, if Washington is serious about creating jobs and lifting the United States out of this economic rut, they should pass the pending free trade agreements. Expanding new market opportunities leads to more American jobs and a more prosperous nation -- and that is something we simply can’t afford to wait for any longer.
Joe Parker Jr. is a third-generation rancher from Clay County, Texas. He is president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He is also chairman of the board and president of the First National Bank of Byers.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Crow is 15th in the nation (July 22, 2015)
Have you seen a Texas horned lizard? (July 22, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 22, 2015)
Landscaping picks (July 22, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 22, 2015)
Offices issue receipts (July 22, 2015)
Recent rains — fewer grasshoppers! (July 22, 2015)
Stallman announces departure in January (July 22, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 22, 2015)
Benefits of the Chinese pistache (July 15, 2015)
Cattle market outlook, trends short course (July 15, 2015)
Conservation assistance online for landowners, users (July 15, 2015)
Crouch Memorial Bull Riding is July 25 (July 15, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 15, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 15, 2015)
Mischief-maker transforms into equine world champion (July 15, 2015)
TDA Market (July 15, 2015)
Wardens investigate alligator attack (July 15, 2015)
Ag-Pro continues John Deere tradition (July 8, 2015)
Cattlemen, Floresville FFA unite (July 8, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 8, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 8, 2015)
Locals attend conference (July 8, 2015)
Much of peach crop excellent quality, quantity (July 8, 2015)
Nomination period open for farm committee (July 8, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 8, 2015)
Things farmers do when it rains (July 8, 2015)
Two-part water conservation landscaping workshop in SA (July 8, 2015)
U.S. cattle herd safety threatened by Brazilian beef importation? (July 8, 2015)
West Nile virus vaccine in horses (July 8, 2015)
Will new driveway affect live oak? (July 8, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (July 1, 2015)
July 2015 Gardening Calendar (July 1, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (July 1, 2015)
Native anaqua is a tasty treat for wildlife (July 1, 2015)
TDA Market Report (July 1, 2015)
Texas railway raises concerns on eminent domain (July 1, 2015)
Third time's a charm for Buck Taylor roping (July 1, 2015)