The House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will both consider the draft implementing bills for the South Korea, Colombia and Panama Free Trade Agreements on Thursday. While the Senate discussion will include Trade Adjustment Assistance the House discussion will not. In announcing the Senate's new date for a "mock" markup of the pending trade deals and TAA, Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said it was past time to get the package moving. He said U.S. competitors are gaining ground and noted the agreements will grow our economy and create jobs. Baucus previously had scheduled a markup for last week. Republicans decided to boycott that meeting and Baucus was forced to cancel the session. This is the first scheduled meeting for House Ways and Means on the agreements.
"We're happy to see movement toward the ratification of the pending FTAs," NCGA President Bart Schott said. "The United States is the world's largest corn producer and exporter. By developing new markets for our country's agricultural products, we build a foundation that allows our sector to lead the nation in economic growth."
Last year, the United States exported 50.4 million metric tons of corn worldwide. Corn co-products such as distillers grains also represent a growing export market for domestic producers.
"It is frustrating for me as a producer to watch as trade barriers make it increasingly difficult to remain competitive despite growing global demand," Schott said. "We urge lawmakers to come together tomorrow and move forward on these crucial trade agreements. NCGA strongly supports the pending FTAs with Korea, Colombia and Panama and we look forward to working with Congress to ensure swift passage."
The Finance Committee and Ways and Means Committee will consider the draft implementing bills during a "mock" markup because Congress cannot offer amendments to the final implementing bills submitted by the Administration under the Trade Promotion Authority Act. The mock markup gives committees the opportunity to recommend to the Administration the provisions that should be included in the final implementing bill. Following Administration review of the draft implementing bills, the President submits the final versions of the implementing bills to Congress for an up-or-down vote. The full texts of the implementing bills are available at finance.senate.gov/legislation/.