Cattlemen Eager for President’s Signature on Peru Trade Deal

US - A new trade agreement agreed between the US and Peru is predicted to be a big boost to the US beef and cattle indsutry.
calendar icon 5 December 2007
clock icon 4 minute read

The US Senate overwhelmingly approved the agreement, the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA), - with a vote of 77 to 18.

According to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, with beef production comprising less than eight per cent of Peru’s total agriculture gross domestic product, Peru could be an outstanding export market for U.S. beef.

For U.S. cattle producers, the improved access provided in this agreement could amount to roughly $15 million per year.

“"The best way for America’s farmers and ranchers to achieve prosperity is for Congress to support expanding trade within the global marketplace."”

Stacey Satterlee, director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

"Under this agreement, Peru will immediately eliminate duties on high-quality beef and provide duty-free tariff rate quotas (TRQs) on standard beef cuts," said Stacey Satterlee, director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

Other key components of this agreement are Peru’s implementation of OIE-consistent import measures for beef, and Peru’s agreement to recognize the equivalence of the U.S. beef inspection systems. Peru has also committed in writing to specific Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) terms.

President Bush, a staunch supporter of the Peru agreement, is expected to waste no time in signing the agreement and now the focus is turning to trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, currently awaiting Congressional consideration.

Like the Peru free trade agreement, deals with Colombia and Panama allow for duty-free treatment of high-quality U.S. beef on day one of implementation, according to the NCBA.

Both Colombia and Panama have put in place import measures consistent with OIE guidelines and have agreed to recognise the U.S. beef inspection system as equivalent. These agreements have also broken down pre-existing SPS and technical barriers.

"NCBA’s cattle-producing members need Congress to step up and pass the Colombia and Panama deals so the U.S. agricultural sector can begin reaping the benefits of these well-negotiated agreements," said Mr Satterlee.

"The best way for America’s farmers and ranchers to achieve prosperity is for Congress to support expanding trade within the global marketplace."

Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner said: "I appreciate the Senate's overwhelming passage of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA), which will allow our two countries to begin implementing and fulfilling two-way market access for our agricultural goods. U.S. agriculture has been a staunch supporter of the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement because it creates new opportunities for U.S. products that currently face high tariffs to enter the Peruvian market.

"It is important for Congress to continue the process of leveling the playing field for our producers, eliminating restrictive tariffs on U.S. exports, and allowing the strengths of American agriculture to shine through by moving forward with the Colombia, Panama and Korea trade agreements.

"The Peruvian middle class is growing rapidly, and the future of U.S. agricultural growth depends on gaining access to these newly affluent demographic sectors. In fiscal year 2007, U.S. exporters sold nearly $333 million in agricultural products in Peru and our agricultural producers stand ready to provide an expanding range of high-value and consumer-ready products to this emerging market. The agreement will also help to keep U.S. bulk commodities competitive in the Peruvian market. On the first day the agreement goes into effect, 90 percent of our food and agricultural products will enter Peru duty free, greatly increasing the competitiveness of U.S. goods.

"However, U.S. agriculture is not the only beneficiary of the agreement. The Peruvian economy will gain from enhanced investment opportunities, and Peruvian agriculture will enjoy greater participation in the global marketplace. The resulting job creation in Peru's agriculture sector will support U.S. and Peruvian counter-narcotics efforts. Increased prosperity for Peru promises a stable government, a stalwart trading partner, and democratic presence in South America."

However, the deal has not been welcomed by the entire US cattle industry.

Before the Senate vote, the cattlemen's action group R-CALF USA wrote to the senators urging them to vote against teh agreement.

R-CALF said the deal fails to include four key provisions needed to ensure that independent U.S. cattle producers can compete fairly and equitably in the global market.

"The Peru FTA also contains inadequate health and safety safeguards to protect the health and welfare of the U.S. livestock industry and U.S. consumers,” said R-CALF USA Trade Committee Co-Chair Eric Nelson."


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