The Ohio Soybean Association applauds the recent congressional passage of the U.S. Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Together, these three FTAs present the opportunity for an additional $3 billion in U.S. exports, economic development and jobs.
"OSA thanks our congressional leaders for working together to achieve the final vote to pass these important agreements," says Bret Davis, OSA president and Delaware County soybean farmer. "These agreements will not just benefit Ohio farmers. It will benefit the overall state economy and provide job-growth opportunities."
Ohio soybean farmers benefit greatly from international markets and thousands of Ohio jobs depend on soybean exports. The trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea will result in increased exports of Ohio soy and soy-fed meat and poultry and will benefit soybean farmers and rural economies. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the agreement with South Korea alone represents an additional $1.8 billion annually.
The U.S. has been losing market share of agricultural products in Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Competitors such as Europe, Brazil and Canada already have agreements with these countries.
"These FTAs put Ohio and all U.S. farmers on a level playing field with regard to marketing agricultural products," says Adam Ward, OSA executive director. "The U.S. has been losing market share in these important markets and now U.S. farmers can begin to take that back."
How Ohio's soybean farmers will benefit:
Soybeans imported to South Korea for use in cooking oil and livestock feed will enter duty-free.
South Korea will eliminate the current tariff on soybeans imported for food uses such as for tofu and soymilk.
Colombia will immediately eliminate a system of variable tariffs on soybean imports, which has imposed tariffs as much as 150%.
Colombia will phase out its 24% tariff for refined soybean oil throughout the next five years.
Panama's current 0% tariff treatment for soybeans and soybean meal will be locked immediately upon implementation of this agreement.
Panama's current 0% tariff treatment for crude soybean oil will also be locked immediately, with the 20% tariff on refined soybean oil being phased out in 15 years."OSA, along with the American Soybean Association, has been working for years to get these FTAs passed," saYS Davis. "These agreements do not just benefit soybeans, but all grain, oilseed, fiber, fruit, vegetable and livestock products. We look forward to working to gain market share and to bringing new economic and job-growth opportunities back to the U.S. and Ohio."