United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced Tues., Feb. 21, 2012, that the free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea (KORUS FTA) will be implemented on March 15, 2012. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander praised the announcement.
“NCBA was a key player in working vigorously to ensure passage of the trade pact with South Korea. We are pleased to see a smooth implementation process taking place and commend Ambassador Kirk for his steadfast commitment to expanding trade opportunities for farm and ranch families like mine.
“When the KORUS FTA is implemented, our competitive advantage will be secured. The KORUS pact will phase out tariffs on U.S. beef over the next 15 years and will make U.S. beef a more affordable and appealing choice for our valued Korean customers. This may very well be the most monumental bilateral trade pact our industry has ever witnessed.
“With increasing demand and tightening supplies, movement of the KORUS FTA should encourage cattlemen and women to think beyond the current prices for live cattle and think long term. Think about where demand is heading and look beyond the borders of the United States. Now is the time to retain heifers and rebuild what has now become the smallest U.S. cowherd more than five decades. In order to meet increasing demand, we have to have the beef. Now is the time.
“Ten percent, or approximately 12 million American jobs, depend on exports. With 96 percent of the world’s consumers living outside U.S. borders, it’s critical that we expand our opportunities to sell beef in the international marketplace if we want to keep American family farms in business.”