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Well-known member
Feb 13, 2005
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R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

For Immediate Release Contact: Shae Dodson, Communications Coordinator
April 21, 2005 Phone: 406-672-8969; e-mail: [email protected]

Opposition to CAFTA Continues to Grow
(Billings, Mont.) – Cattle producers and crop producers alike stood side-by-side Wednesday with state government leaders and members of Congress at two separate, bipartisan news conferences held to explain the negative impacts that the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) would have on U.S. agriculture and the U.S. cattle industry. The events preceded a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on CAFTA scheduled for today.

In Washington, D.C., nearly two dozen Senate and House members – both Republicans and Democrats – were joined at a news conference by 23 business and labor groups that also oppose CAFTA. U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., led the Capitol Hill event. Jess Peterson, R-CALF USA director of government relations, said CAFTA – as it is currently written – is simply unacceptable because it undermines the ability of U.S. cattle producers to compete in the global marketplace because the agreement fails to address the global distortions the domestic cattle industry continues to face.

"Under the Trade Promotion Act of 2002, cattle and beef are required to be classified as perishable and cyclical products, and because of this provision, a special safeguard must be put into place to ensure that rising imports and collapsing exports do not impede upon cattle producers' ability to compete globally," Peterson explained. "CAFTA does not permit the United States to have any special safeguards against beef and live cattle import surges, but it does allow Costa Rica and Nicaragua to impose special safeguards against U.S. beef exports. Denying U.S. cattle producers special safeguards is a step backward from the progress made in the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement prototype."

Also on Wednesday, in Fargo, N.D., another news conference in opposition to CAFTA was underway in anticipation of today's visit to that city by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, a staunch supporter of CAFTA.

Terry Duppong, an R-CALF USA member and North Dakota rancher, spoke at Wednesday's event, which also was attended by North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson, State Sen. Russell Thane (who sponsored that state's anti-CAFTA resolution), along with representatives of North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Grain Growers, and the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association.

"CAFTA is troubling to U.S. ranchers because it appears the Administration's present agenda is to negotiation free trade agreements (FTAs) with nearly every major beef-producing country in the world, but not one single major beef-consuming country," Duppong emphasized. "Other problems faced by U.S. producers include blocks on beef exports because of illegal sanitary-phytosanitary measures, subsidies provided to foreign producers that give them an unfair advantage over U.S. ranchers, and export tariffs of over 80 percent, while our import tariff rate is almost zero."

Duppong also pointed out that CAFTA nations have a combined cattle herd size nearly as large as the Canadian cattle herd.

"Currently, these countries do not have strong cattle industries, but with an increased export market these countries will upgrade both herds and slaughter capacity," he said. "Those improvements will enable these CAFTA countries to meet domestic demands for beef and increase beef exports to the United States."

Peterson added that CAFTA also allows cattle produced in nations like Brazil and Argentina to be shipped north to be slaughtered in Central America, thus providing preferential treatment to non-participating countries.

"Trade agreements need to have a "born and raised" standard for country of origin," he pointed out. "Instead, CAFTA gives preferential treatment for beef based only on where an animal is slaughtered.

"R-CALF USA will continue to work for trade agreements that are good for independent U.S. ranchers, and we also pledge to work with the Administration to develop approaches to trade agreements that will be a win for both U.S. cattle producers and our trading partners," Peterson continued. "We cannot support agreements that create bad precedents for future free trade agreements.

# # #

R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on domestic and international trade and marketing issues. R-CALF USA, a national, non-profit organization, is dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA's membership consists primarily of cow-calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and feedlot owners. Its members – over 14,500 strong – are located in 46 states, and the organization has over 60 local and state association affiliates, from both cattle and farm organizations. Various main street businesses are associate members of R-CALF USA. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.

Sorry Haymaker, I posted the same without seeing you already posted it.
rancher said:
Sorry Haymaker, I posted the same without seeing you already posted it.

Good it needs read twice,I bet you can hardly wait to see the ncba on RFDTV tonite?............good luck PS that rain keeping you inside I hope.
Got my popcorn all ready for the fiction movie. Can't get much done, didn't get puddles, but too soft to get off the county roads. Fed what I could get to without tearing up the roads.
MORE BS from Denver! More BS from Billings.......................When will this BS ever end??????????????????? Great article in this month's Western Horseman magazine on the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale! :D
I was asked the other day if Wal Mart can legally put horsemeat in the case???? IS Horsemeat outlawed in the US???? I really did not have an answer for the person.........HELP!

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