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Trade Barriers for Agricultural Exports
Mark O’Neill, Media Relations Director
510 S. 31st Street , Camp Hill, PA 17001 , (717) 761-2740 or E-mail
For Immediate Release: July 26, 2012
PA Farm Bureau Seeks Relief from Restrictive Trade Barriers and Improved Transportation System
(Washington, D.C.) – Despite some recent improvements in reducing trade tariffs on agricultural products, America’s farmers are still burdened by other trade barriers that restrict market access to U.S. food, according to Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Carl T. Shaffer, who testified today before a House Agriculture subcommittee in Washington D.C.
In his testimony before the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade, Shaffer said negotiations during trade agreements must strive to benefit the entire agricultural economy, not just parts of it.
“NAFTA did nothing to address the Canadian tariff on U.S. dairy products. Canada imposes excessive out of quota tariffs on dairy products that exceed 200 percent, with some as high as 292.5 percent. This is particularly harmful to Pennsylvania’s dairy industry in that we could be exporting cheese to our northern neighbors if NAFTA had eliminated or reduced this barrier,” said Shaffer.
Farm Bureau noted that some countries impose trade barriers on agriculture commodities even though their measures are not science-based and unnecessarily restrict market access; they implement new measures without adequate time for compliance; they do not conform to international standards; and they rely on questionable testing methods to enforce their standards.
The Columbia County corn, soybean and wheat farmer said affordable and reliable shipping of commodities and farm products is essential in delivering U.S. agricultural products to foreign customers and to compete in world markets.
“With more than one-third of U.S. agricultural production valued at more than $136 billion exported in 2011, the physical movement of commodities and foods is critical to agricultural trade and the prosperity of American farmers,” added Shaffer.
PFB pointed to inland waterways locks that need to be repaired and maintained to preserve a major domestic shipping advantage that the U.S. has over other nations in the movement of agricultural goods. The infrastructure work is essential for American seaports to be ready for competition that will come from other nations after the expansion of the Panama Canal moves freight to even larger ships that require deeper harbors.
“American agriculture depends on export markets. Policy makers must remain committed to reducing trade barriers and ensuring an efficient and reliable transportation system. Agriculture matters to the American economy, and trade matters to agriculture,” concluded Shaffer.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of more than 55,000 farm and rural families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.