Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Texas Trading Partners Await Response from D.C.

In a show of support to expand Texas and U.S. exports while enhancing global free trade and goodwill, two action items I introduced yesterday at the Marketing & International Trade Forum during the annual National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) conference in Washington D.C. were adopted. This is encouraging news as these items move toward a final vote on Thursday.

At stake are policies that would greatly improve U.S. and Texas trade relations with Mexico, South Korea, Colombia and Panama. In the case of Mexico, we hope to improve Mexican trucking safety standards while easing the mutual passage of exports between the United States and our neighbor south of the border. In doing so, we can abolish outdated retaliatory Mexican tariffs that currently penalize American exports. It only makes sense to re-establish harmonious cross-border trucking relations with one of our closest neighbors – especially when you consider this was a commitment the U.S. made in the 1990s. And the recent talk among NASDA representatives seems to indicate a majority is in agreement that the administration and Congress should move promptly toward this resolution.

The same seems to be true with regard to South Korea, Colombia and Panama who are waiting with welcome arms to embrace more quality U.S. and Texas products. A NASDA representative from South Korea went so far yesterday as to call American farmers the most productive, proficient and profitable in the world. An endorsement like that sounds like an opportunity to me, and as demand for American exports increases in South Korea, Colombia and Panama, I urge our administration and Congress to seize these opportunities on behalf of U.S. and Texas farmers, as well as our nation’s economy. The negotiating work has already been done, and our economy supports opening these markets to our product. Why should Washington delay this progress?

With so much at stake in Thursday’s vote, I’m encouraged to see my fellow NASDA representatives working together to create opportunities for a brighter future for Texas and U.S. exports. Let’s hope our federal government will join us in doing the same.

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