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Feb 13, 2005
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thanks for the email Randy good to see you back on your feet................good luck
Subject: CAFTA First or America First? By Randy Stevenson

CAFTA First or America First?

Adam Smith, the infamous 18th Century economist and moral philosopher
said, "I have never known much good done by those who affected trade
for the public good."

Proponents of trade agreements like CAFTA are quick to call those of
us who oppose this import agreement protectionists. Smith would have
been considered a protectionist. So would the American presidents
memorialized on Mt. Rushmore, for they all believed that the core of
American sovereignty is the prosperity of her citizens through their
labor and products. They built a form of government anchored in this
belief and they sanctioned the notion that America's freedom is
rooted in her ability to feed and supply herself without relying on
other nations.

The battle over CAFTA must be won. It is one giant step toward
international trade agreements that sacrifice the very lifeblood of
America. Make no mistake about this - the humanistic capitalists who
advocate the selling of America's soul in this global free trade
process have put America's heartland on the block. Under CAFTA, U.S.
sugar beet producers are left virtually to the wolves. If we do not
speak out now to help them, there will be no sugar beet producers to
speak out for us.

When we permit the true source of wealth - our means of production -
to be outsourced from this nation, we relinquish control of our own
destiny. Countries are not made great by the quantity of goods they
consume, but by the quantity of goods they produce. We put our
futures in the hands of multinational businesses who have no
conscience to call upon, no soul to save and no rear end to kick.
Politicians however, have souls, consciences and rear ends.

Let's defeat CAFTA and let Congress know that we're proud to protect
America . . . . Let's put America first!

Randy Stevenson

Double S Livestock

Wheatland, Wyoming
California Rancher Testifies Before U.S. House on CAFTA-DR
Future of U.S. Agriculture Depends on Ability to Compete Globally
Bruce Hafenfeld, a rancher from Weldon, California, is testifying today before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means regarding the Central America - Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). Hafenfeld is on the board of directors for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and serves as the first vice-president of the California Cattlemen's Association (CCA).

"We firmly believe CAFTA-DR will correct a long-standing inequity in beef trade policy between the United States and these six nations, offer additional export opportunities for U.S. beef, and ultimately increase the value of cattle raised on my ranch," says Hafenfeld. "CAFTA-DR is unique in that America's beef cattle producers are granting few, if any, concessions in exchange for these increased export opportunities. In fact, we have already been paying for this agreement for several years without getting the export market access we need in return."

Currently, beef from CAFTA-DR countries is allowed into the U.S. marketplace duty-free, while U.S. beef exports to these same countries face tariffs ranging from 15 to 40 percent. Due to these tariff levels, U.S. beef exports to these countries are limited.

"This dynamic, in which beef exporters in CAFTA-DR nations have virtually unlimited access to the U.S. beef marketplace while trade barriers prevent the entry of U.S. beef, is fundamentally unfair to U.S. cattle producers," explains Hafenfeld. "We produce the highest-quality, safest beef in the world. Yet, if we are to remain competitive in the increasingly global beef marketplace, we must have agricultural trade policies which promote U.S. cattlemen's export interests."

Under CAFTA-DR, the United States would gain immediate, duty-free, quota-free access for high-quality U.S. beef, with all remaining tariffs being eliminated over a period of fifteen years. NCBA's analysis of this agreement suggests the United States could triple beef and beef product exports to the region by 2015, with only slight increases foreseen in beef imports from these six countries. This level of increased exports translates into a potential $1.06 per head benefit to U.S. cattlemen.

"With 96 percent of the world's population living outside the United States, we must promote our U.S. beef in the global marketplace, says Hafenfeld. "But border closures to our exports transformed a $1.2 billion trade surplus in 2003 into a $2.8 billion trade deficit in 2004. The current situation is absolutely unacceptable. Right now, CAFTA-DR countries have fully reopened their borders to U.S. beef, and passage of this agreement would immediately boost our export opportunities at this crucial time for cattle producers."

Historically, the United States has been the world's top provider of high-quality, grain-fed beef and has been able to maintain trade surpluses in beef and beef products for many years. This trade surplus position contributes significantly to the prices received by beef cattle producers for their cattle and calves. Cattle industry economists estimate that in a normal year international trade adds $175 to the value of a finished steer. However, this trade surplus position in beef and beef products was halted by the December 23, 2003 identification of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a single imported dairy cow, and the subsequent closure of 90 percent of U.S. beef export markets.

"A vote in support of CAFTA-DR is a vote to provide me and my fellow U.S. beef cattle producers the ability to export our products free of prohibitive trade barriers," explains Hafenfeld. "Cattlemen and cattlewomen throughout the United States know that this is an excellent agreement for our families and for all of American agriculture. When 99 percent of the agricultural products the CAFTA-DR countries send to the U.S. currently enter duty-free, we need an agreement like this to balance the trade relationship. We urge swift passage by Congress."

For more information about the beef provisions of CAFTA-DR, and NCBA's economic analysis, please visit http://hill.beef.org/cafta.

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