Friday, July 17, 2009

U.S. in Tight Spot on Trade -

U.S. in Tight Spot on Trade -

JULY 17, 2009


WASHINGTON -- In a bid to revive support for free trade within the U.S., the Obama administration plans to press foreign nations to increase imports of U.S. agriculture and manufacturing -- but not to push so hard as to ignite a protectionist backlash.
Bloomberg News Ron Kirk

'In order to save trade, we've got to deal more honestly with those who feel like [trade's] benefits haven't been manifested for them,' U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in an interview Tuesday. 'We've got to be serious about enforcement."

Thursday, Mr. Kirk plans to travel to Mon Valley Works, a steelmaking complex in Braddock, Pa., to tell steelworkers that the U.S. will begin regular reviews of countries whose regulations and other practices limit American exports of agriculture and manufactured goods. In agriculture, for instance, the U.S. would target health-based import restrictions that Washington considers bogus -- such as bans of American pork products by Russia, China and other nations in reaction to the outbreak of H1N1 influenza.

The U.S. effort would rely largely on trying to embarrass countries into changing policies, rather than directly threatening tariffs or other commercial penalties. The U.S. could decide to refer some of the disputes to the World Trade Organization, but getting cases decided there can take years.

"One of the legitimate complaints levied against our trade policy is people feel like we just let our partners run roughshod over us," Mr. Kirk said, at the cost of U.S. jobs. "I don't think it's too much to ask of our trading partners that you live by the rules that you agreed to."

Complete article at

The administration needs to get its head screwed on right and work towards FAIR TRADE, especially for US agricultural products. Domestic producers are struggling to compete with imported goods that can be produced with fewer restrictions, cheaper labor, and more subsidies.

Add on top of the confusing administration trade policy is the lurking Food Safety bill that will potentially place more unecessary financial burden on family farmers and ranchers, further placing them at a disadvantage to foreign products.

Communicate your concerns to Washington D.C. Request a clear & fair trade policy that benefits US family farmers and ranchers. It's time to stop bending to foreign pressure and stand up for America first.

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About Me

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Jeff Fowle is a fourth generation family farmer and rancher from Etna, California. He and his wife Erin and son Kyle raise registered Angus cattle, Percheron draft horses, warmbloods, alfalfa and alfalfa-grass hay. They also start and train horses for riding, jumping, and driving. Their family run ranch has incorporated many environmentally beneficial and water efficient technologies and management strategies. Jeff attended college at Colorado State University for two years and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for four and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. Following college, he worked in Washington State for a year as a herdsman for BB Cattle Company and then returned to Etna, California in 1995 to own and operate KK Bar Ranch and Siskiyou Percherons. The latter was started by his grandfather, Clarence Dudley, who devoted much of his time to the Percheron Horse Association of America, specifically to developing their youth education program.