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OSA pushing for free trade agreements

Ohio soybean farmers benefit greatly from international markets, and thousands of Ohio jobs depend on soybean exports. The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) supports the pending Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Panama, South Korea and Colombia, and urges their immediate passage and implementation. These trade agreements will result in increased exports of Ohio soy and soy-fed meat and poultry, and will benefit soybean farmers and rural economies.

When these trade agreements are passed and implemented, they will present the opportunity for $3 billion in additional U.S. exports, economic development and jobs.

“OSA asks our elected officials to support efforts to open new markets and allow America’s farmers to fairly compete for business from countries needing agriculture products, including soybeans and soybean products,” said Jeff Wuebker, OSA President and Darke County farmer.  “Inaction regarding these trade agreements has resulted in the loss of U.S. market share and slower economic growth.”

How Ohio’s soybean farmers will benefit:

• Soybeans imported into South Korea for use in cooking oil and livestock feed will enter duty-free.

• South Korea will eliminate the current tariff on soybeans imported for food uses such as tofu and soymilk.

• Colombia will immediately eliminate a system of variable tariffs on soybean imports, which has imposed tariffs as high as 150%.

• Colombia will phase out its 24% tariff for refined soybean oil throughout the next five years.

• Panama’s current 0% tariff treatment for soybeans and soybean meal will be locked immediately upon implementation of this agreement.

• Panama’s current 0% tariff treatment for crude soybean oil will also be locked immediately, with the 20% tariff on refined soybean oil being phased out in 15 years.

“These free trade agreements represent hope for the American farmer,” said Bret Davis, OSA Vice President and Delaware County farmer.  “Currently, the competitive position of Ohio soybean farmers is being eroded and these agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia will create a level playing field by eliminating the barriers that farmers face in these markets.”

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