Today’s Topic: Free-trade agreements would boost N.C. ag exports

by | Oct 4, 2011

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoThree pending free-trade agreements could mean a boost to N.C. agriculture. The trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama would eliminate or reduce tariffs on a variety of agricultural products. If Congress approves them, it is estimated that the value of direct agricultural exports from North Carolina would increase by $100 million a year. The largest gains would be in exports of pork, poultry, and processed food and fish.

The agreement with South Korea would give the biggest boost to North Carolina. Exports of ag products from North Carolina to that country would increase by nearly $91 million. N.C. pork exports alone would increase by more than $38 million. Other commodities – such as beef, soybeans, fruits and vegetables, cotton and wheat – also would benefit from the agreements. These estimates were issued by American Farm Bureau based on analysis by USDA’s Economic Research Service.

Commissioner Troxler is a proponent of fair and open trade because it can create jobs in agriculture. Agricultural exports already are worth a lot to North Carolina farmers and our state’s economy. In recent years, the value of North Carolina’s ag exports has hovered around the $3 billion mark.

Click below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss these trade agreements and why continued haggling over them in Washington, D.C., is allowing other countries to enact their own agreements and gain a competitive advantage in South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

Update: On Monday, Oct. 3, President Obama formally submitted the legislation for the three pending trade agreements to Congress, and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk called for swift congressional action on them.

[Audio: |titles=Today’s Topic for Oct. 4]

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