Cattlemens’ Concerns!

Colombia Trade Agreement Stalled Indefinitely:

After President Bush sent the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement to Congress on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi answered back with a proposal to change Trade Promotion Authority rules by removing the 90-day timeline for mandatory consideration of the trade pact. The House today, in a vote of 224-194, passed the proposal, which removes any timeframe for consideration of this agreement.

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NCBA supported Trade Promotion Authority for President Clinton and President Bush, and we will support it for whichever candidate occupies the Oval Office in 2009, NCBA President Andy Groseta said. TPA isnt supposed to be about delaying or avoiding votes on specific trade agreements. Its about taking action in a timely fashion, to give our nation the tools it needs to negotiate and implement agreements effectively.
NCBA remains firm in its commitment to the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement and believes it is one of the best-negotiated free trade agreements for U.S. beef to date. The agreement will provide immediate duty-free access to U.S. prime and choice beef and will remove all other tariffs on beef products over 15 years. Once fully implemented, the Colombian market has potential to equal roughly $10-$20 million a year for the U.S. beef industry.
Based on todays vote, we are deeply concerned about potential repercussions from our international trading partners, Groseta said. NCBA has long urged our international trading partners to honor their commitments. What then does it say to the international community if we are willing to betray the trust of our trading partners and change the rules of Trade Promotion Authority in the eleventh hour?

United States, South Korea Resume Trade Talks, Prepare for Presidential Visit:

The United States has said the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, which was signed in June 2007, will not be considered until the beef issue is resolved and the Korean market is fully open to U.S. beef and beef products.

The resumption of these talks comes just one week before the new South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is scheduled to make his first visit to the United States since his inauguration on February 25. He will visit with President Bush at Camp David April 17-18.

Montana Rancher Testifies at Clean Water Act Hearing:

Montana Rancher and NCBA member Randy Smith, of Glen, Mont., testified in opposition to Senate Bill 1870, the Clean Water Restoration Act, during the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing Wednesday, April 9. S.1870 proposes to strike the word navigable from the Clean Water Acts (CWA) definition of waters of the United States, which would greatly expand the reach of the CWA.

NCBA and the Montana Stockgrowers Association do not agree that this bill restores Congressional intent regarding the extent of federal jurisdiction over waters, Smith said. Instead, this bill ignores Congressional intent and greatly expands federal jurisdiction far beyond anything Congress imagined at the time of enactment.

Smith warned that broad expansion of the CWA would impose a significant financial burden on the nations farmers and ranchers and harm their private property rights, while doing little to improve the environment.

It is one thing to regulate navigable waters and wetlands that have a significant nexus to those waters because they have true environmental value, Smith told the committee. It is another thing to regulate every wet area, or potentially wet area, simply because it is wet, regardless of the fact that those areas provide very little if any environmental value. To think that a rancher would be forced to get a Section 404 permit whenever a cow stepped in a dry wash or a puddle is nothing less than shocking.

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