dead in the water
(MEATPOULTRY.com, April 11, 2008)
WASHINGTON - The House yesterday afternoon, by a largely partisan vote of 224
to 195, approved a rule (H Res 1092) stopping the 90-daylegislative deadline on
the U.S.-Colombia Free-Trade Agreement, putting action on hold ―
perhaps for the rest of the year, according to the American Meat Institute.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab called the move "reckless" and
said it will undermine U.S. standing in the world and its ability to negotiate
A.M.I. said this
action continues to disadvantage U.S. exporters, who must continue to pay
import duties on U.S. products going into Colombia while Colombia enjoys
duty-free access to the U.S. This F.T.A. would have been a win for the U.S.
(more than $1 billion in the last 10 months). The Administration has been
trying for the past 16 months to get a commitment from Congressional leaders to
schedule a vote.
Beef and pork
will benefit from improved market access, A.M.I. pointed out. The United States
and Colombia have worked to resolve food-safety related barriers to
agricultural trade, including food safety inspection procedures for beef, pork,
and poultry. The Food Safety and Inspection Service is recognized as the
certifying authority for U.S. meat and poultry plants and provides for the
concept of equivalency in meat inspection.