2017-09-13 / News

Michigan farmers warn of Korean trade talks

LANSING — The Agricultural Leaders of Michigan (ALM) recently joined the growing chorus of American farm, commodity and agribusiness organizations warning that a U.S. withdrawal from the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) would be a serious blow to America’s agricultural sector.

The coalition of seven Michigan commodity and agribusiness organizations directed the following policy statement to the Trump Administration following reports that the administration is drafting plans to withdraw the U.S. from KORUS:

“We strongly urge the Trump Administration not to withdraw the United States from the successful KORUS agreement that has greatly expanded U.S. agricultural exports to South Korea and created good jobs in Michigan.

Given South Korea is a close strategic ally and a top export destination for U.S. agricultural products, withdrawing the United States from the KORUS agreement would be a mistake, causing economic damage to agriculture in Michigan and throughout the nation while opening the door for our competitors to undermine U.S. agriculture abroad.

Michigan is among the most diverse agricultural states in the country, and virtually all aspects of our agriculture sector would be impacted by a KORUS withdrawal in a negative way. ”

When KORUS went into effect on March 5, 2012 it immediately removed duties on nearly two-thirds of U.S. agricultural exports to South Korea, exponentially increasing U.S. competitiveness in the South Korean market. In 2016, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service, South Korea was the sixth-largest destination for American agricultural products, as a direct result of the trade agreement. U.S. agricultural exports to South Korea more than doubled from 2006-2016.

Soybean, dairy and pork exports have seen significant new opportunities as a result of KORUS, and South Korea now ranks as the third-largest importer of U.S. corn in all forms. In addition, as a leading producer of potatoes used for snack foods that are widely popular throughout Asia, Michigan’s potato industry directly benefits from KORUS and other efforts to break down trade barriers in Asia.

Agricultural Leaders of Michigan is a coalition of agricultural, commodity and agribusiness leaders committed to promoting Michigan agriculture, participating in the ongoing dialogue about issues affecting our state, and harnessing agriculture’s power and potential to further grow Michigan’s economy.

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