Agricultural interests in recent weeks have pressured Congress to move ahead with free trade agreements (एफटीए) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea that have been stalled for over three years. These markets vary in size, but they are all long-term markets where open access will be important in securing market share. These countries have offered to reduce import tariffs, but the U.S. has not agreed.

South Korea is clearly the biggest current market of the three for U.S. agriculture with exports of $4.38 अरब में 2009 and imports of only $346 दस लाख, mostly seafood and consumer-oriented products. Coarse grains, ज्यादातर मकई, accounted for 25 percent of U.S. exports at $1.11 एक अरब, followed by soybeans and products at $448 million and red meat at $437 दस लाख. यू.एस. red meat exports grew from $157 दस लाख में 2005 as restrictions on beef imports from the U.S. have been eased. The other exports are spread out among virtually every product exported by U.S. कृषि. South Korea has a population of 48.5 दस लाख, the world’s 25th largest, and a per capita GDP on a purchasing power parity basis (PPP) का $28,000 प्रति वर्ष, 49th highest in the world.

यू.एस. agricultural exports to Colombia in 2009 were less than 25 percent of the exports to South Korean at $922 दस लाख. अमेरिका. has an agricultural trade deficit with Colombia because of coffee, nursery products (mainly cut flowers) and bananas and plantain imports of $1.53 billion out of total imports of $1.82 एक अरब. Colombia is now a bulk commodity market with coarse grains at $215 दस लाख, गेहूँ $141 दस लाख, soybeans and products $141 दस लाख, कपास $66 million and other feeds $52 million accounting for two-thirds of U.S. exports. In times of ample world supplies open access to this market is critical because other suppliers in North and South America are readily available. Colombia’s population is almost as large as South Korea at 43.7 million with a per capita GDP of $9,200 प्रति वर्ष.

The Panamanian market for U.S. agricultural products was about 40 percent of the Colombian market in 2009 पर $379 दस लाख, with imports from Panama of $118 दस लाख, mostly seafood and consumer-oriented products. Like Colombia, most exports to Panama are bulk commodities with coarse grains at $69 दस लाख, soybean oil and meal $54 दस लाख, गेहूँ $30 million and rice $17 दस लाख. Snack foods are the largest consumer-oriented category at $26 दस लाख. Panama’s population is only 3.4 दस लाख, the 134st largest country, and per capita GDP is $11,900 प्रति वर्ष.

The South Korean agricultural market is a textbook case of market development where the market began as a bulk commodity market to supplement domestic production. Over time as per capita GDP grew, the bulk market grew and demand increased for intermediate and consumer oriented products. Colombia and Panama are working through the bulk commodity phase of development with the shift beginning toward intermediate and consumer oriented products. Full access to the intermediate and consumer-oriented product markets cannot be achieved without the three countries shaking off their protectionist policies with FTAs.

Under the U.S.-Korea FTA, tariffs on corn, गेहूँ, soybeans for crushing and hides and skins would be zero, simply recognizing the reality that Korean consumers cannot prosper without these products. Rice remains a politically sensitive import and tariffs would not be change from WTO mandated levels. उपभोक्ता उन्मुख उत्पादों के लिए जिम्मेदार है 29 percent of U.S. exports to Korea in 2009 and are expected to grow rapidly under the FTA. Tariffs for out-of-season oranges would be reduced to 30 percent and eliminated over six years and the 54 percent tariff on frozen orange juice dropped immediately. The 30 percent tariff for lemons and grapefruit would be eliminated over two years and five years. Other fruits and vegetables would have a mixture of immediate elimination of tariffs and phase outs of up to 18 वर्षों. Frozen and fresh pork product tariffs would be reduced to zero by 2014. The 40 percent tariff on beef muscle meat would be reduced to zero over 15 वर्षों. Poultry meat, eggs and dairy would have similar reductions in tariffs with tariff rate quotas (TRQs).

Colombia’s economy is not as developed and more transition time is needed for many products. Tariffs would be eliminated on wheat, nonfeed barley, सोयाबीन, soybean meal, high quality beef, most fruit and vegetable products, मूंगफली, whey, cotton and the majority of processed products. Duty-free TRQs would be created for standard beef, chicken leg quarters, dairy products, मक्का, चारा, animal feeds, चावल, and soybean oil. Over-quota tariffs for standard beef would be eliminated over 15 वर्षों, chicken leg quarters over 18 वर्षों, dairy products over 15 वर्षों, pork over 5 तथा 10 वर्षों, मक्का, sorghum and animal feeds over 12 वर्षों, soybean oil over 5 तथा 10 years and rice over 19 वर्षों.

Panama is similar to Colombia with tariffs on 63 percent of U.S. agricultural trade eliminated immediately with most other tariffs declining over 15 वर्षों. गेहूँ, जौ, सोयाबीन, soybean meal and crude soybean oil would be duty free immediately. High quality beef tariffs would be immediately reduced to zero, while standard quality beef tariffs would take 15 वर्षों. For products with longer tariff phase outs, duty-free market access would be provided through TRQs. Corn and rice would have TRQs phased out over 15 तथा 20 वर्षों. Pork over quota tariffs would be phased out over 15 वर्षों. Tariffs on some poultry products would be eliminated immediately and othersover quota tariffs phased out over 18 वर्षों. Dairy products have similar provisions. For fruits and vegetables, 80 percent of tariffs would be immediately eliminated and others reduced over 5 सेवा 12 वर्षों.

These countries have made a real paradigm shift in recognizing markets must be more open to provide benefits to consumers. They all have individual political needs to protect some products and provide long transitions for others. The Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress appear to have not caught on to that paradigm shift. These three countries have not remained static while the U.S. waits. If they cannot access food from the U.S., it will be done with other countries. South Korea signed a FTA with the EU and is working on one with Canada. Panama and Colombia have signed separate agreements with Canada.