Mr. LUCAS. Mr. Speaker, I rise to voice my support for this free trade agreement with Panama.
Trade agreements open market access to our farmers and ranchers, which brings in valuable income and creates jobs. In my home State of Oklahoma, agricultural exports support more than 10,000 jobs. Across the country, agriculture exports support more than 1 million jobs total. Those jobs aren't confined to the farm either. They stretch across a variety of industries, including processing, manufacturing, and transportation.
In fact, for every dollar of farm products that we export, we add another $1.31 to our economy from those nonfarm industries. That's why it's so important to continue opening markets for American agricultural products.
More than 60 percent of our agricultural exports to Panama face some sort of duty or tariff. Those tariffs average 15 percent; but they can be as high as 70 percent on meat, 90 percent on grain, and a staggering 260 percent on poultry. Meanwhile, more than 99 percent of Panama's farm exports enter the U.S. duty free.
So this agreement will not only create new opportunities for America's farmers and ranchers but it levels the playing field for our exporters. As soon as this agreement is implemented, more than half of our farm exports will become duty free. So we can expect to see immediate opportunities once this agreement is in force.
America's farmers, ranchers, processors, manufacturers and shippers can all benefit from those opportunities. Let's help them expand their businesses and create more jobs. Let's pass this agreement.