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News Briefs: Free trade agreements Truck dispute resolved Greenhouse gas rules

Published Jul. 20, 2011 | Discuss this article on Facebook
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Buckeye Farm News

 

Congressional committees advance FTAs

Senate and House committees have approved the Korea, Colombia and Panama free trade agreements (FTAs) in mock mark-up sessions, moving them closer to finalization.

“The next step is for the administration to send the implementing legislation to Capitol Hill for a Congressional vote,” said American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman. “It is imperative that the process promptly move forward to ensure the agreements will be completed by August recess. Inaction on these trade agreements over the last four years has opened the door to our competitors in these markets. Further delay will only exacerbate the losses for U.S. agriculture and the U.S. economy.”

The three FTAs represent nearly $2.5 billion in new agriculture exports and could generate support for up to 22,500 U.S. jobs.

Tariffs lifted as truck dispute resolved

A recently-signed memorandum between Mexico and the United States brought an end to the long-running dispute over Mexican truck access north of the border.

This is the first step in the process for Mexico to remove its retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods, with 50 percent of the tariffs being lifted upon signing and the remaining tariffs being removed once the first Mexican truck that meets U.S. requirements enters the United States.

Mexico’s retaliation has resulted in duties ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent on targeted fresh and processed U.S. agricultural products destined for the Mexican market.

It is important that the United States live up to its trade agreement obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allowing for the cross-border delivery of international cargo from Mexico into the United States, according to AFBF. Any effort by Congress to prohibit this from moving forward will cause Mexico to once again put tariffs in place, putting the burden of non-compliance back on U.S. farmers.

Supreme Court says states can’t enforce greenhouse gas rules

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a unanimous verdict in a case that could have a major impact on the regulation of greenhouse gases in the agricultural industry.

This case arose as a number of states sought to curb greenhouse gases emissions from power companies and utilities, claiming that emissions from these power plants causes a nuisance to their residences.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from utilities, but states in which the utilities operate do not.

“The implications for this case are huge in the sense that curbing these emissions would not be just limited to power plants, but could possibly be applied to any emitter of greenhouse gases, which could include farmers, ranchers, large dairy operations, large livestock operations. So from that standpoint, it could have very far reaching applications,” said AFBF regulatory specialist Rick Krause.



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