Sen. Pat Roberts: Trade Agreements are Long Overdue and Hurting Kansas Agriculture and Aviation Jobs

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the Senate floor, Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, called on President Obama to send the pending trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Columbia to the Senate for a vote, saying their inaction is hurting the economy and thousands of Kansas jobs.

“The administration’s prolonged delay is causing U.S. businesses and producers to lose out,” said Roberts. “Other countries are not waiting for the U.S. to get into the game. They are enacting trade agreements without the United States. It is not without consequences. For the folks on the farm, export markets are critical to their bottom line.”

The various trade agreements have been on the president’s desk since he took office in January 2009. It’s been 1,538 days since negotiations have been completed with the Korean trade agreement, 1,540 days with Panama, and 1,758 days since negotiations have been completed with Columbia.

From the Ag perspective, the three pending trade agreements represent $2.5 billion upon full implementation. Approximately one-third of Kansas crop production is exported. For wheat, that number jumps up to one-half. The Kansas Farm Bureau estimates that Kansas farmers stand to lose $21 million from lost wheat sales alone and $38 million from lost sales of all Ag exports by just doing nothing on the trade agreement. They also estimate that the three agreements in total are expected to increase direct exports by $129.5 million dollars for Kansas Ag producers and an additional 1,150 jobs.

Collectively, the pending trade agreements add up to $13 billion in additional exports and an estimated 250,000 jobs. As a major player in the aviation sector, Kansas exported $2.7 billion in transportation equipment last year alone.

“As the aviation capital of the world, Wichita’s aviation companies and 140,000 workers have much to lose in trying to compete against the EU,” said Roberts. “The bottom line is U.S. companies must be able to compete in foreign markets to survive and grow. It’s time for the president to put some action behind his words and send up the three trade agreements to Congress immediately.”

The floor speech was part of a colloquy with Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Sen. Johnny Isaakson (R-Ga.) about the consequences of the inaction on the trade agreements.

Source: PoliticalNews.me

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