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News Briefs - Paying the Price for inaction
U.S. agriculture paying price for inaction on Mexican trucks
Mexico’s trade retaliation against the United States is expanding in size and scope due to the U.S. government not meeting obligations, under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to allow Mexican trucks to operate in the United States. Due to this inaction, America’s farmers and ranchers are paying a steep price, and American Farm Bureau Federation is calling for immediate action to correct the matter. The most recent retaliation list published by Mexico includes tariffs against U.S. pork, certain types of U.S. cheese, pistachios, a wide range of U.S. fruits and vegetables and other farm and non-farm goods. “Mexico is one of our best trading partners and allowing this retaliation to continue for a provision we are obligated to meet is simply unacceptable,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. Mexico brought a NAFTA case against the United States on the issue. A ruling found that the United States was not in compliance with its obligations, and Mexico was granted the authority to retaliate if efforts are not taken by the United States to comply. “We sell a huge amount of food and farm goods to Mexico, so we have a lot to lose,” Stallman said. “As the retaliation list continues to grow, it comes at a steep cost to U.S. agriculture. Under NAFTA, U.S. food and agriculture exports have more than tripled, climbing from an average $3 billion to $4 billion per year prior to NAFTA to more than $12 billion in 2007, making Mexico the second largest export market for U.S. agriculture products.
AFBF supports Microbusiness Credit Act
American Farm Bureau is supporting the Rural Microbusiness Investment Act of 2010, H.R. 5990 introduced by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis) and Wally Herger (R-Calif.). The legislation is designed to generate investment in start-up and expanding rural microbusinesses as well as in beginning farm and ranch operations by providing a 35 percent tax credit. Owner operated businesses with up to five employees and $1 million receipts located in distressed rural areas would be eligible, along with first-time farmers and ranchers. A new microbusiness owner would be able to carry back the credit for five years and use it to reclaim taxes paid in previous years.