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United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. LUCAS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation.

* The free trade agreement with Korea is of vital importance to America's farmers and ranchers.

* Korea is the fifth largest market for our agricultural exports. But currently, America's farmers and ranchers face an average tariff of 54 percent when exporting to Korea. Similar goods from Korea enter our country at an average rate of only 9 percent.

* Passing this agreement corrects that imbalance and gives us better access to Korea's 49 million consumers.

* The Farm Bureau estimates that once the agreement is fully implemented, we could see $1.9 billion in increased farm exports.

* Every dollar in agricultural exports creates another $1.31 in economic activity off the farm in industries like processing, manufacturing, and transportation. So the agricultural provisions alone have the potential to provide a significant boost to our economy.

* That isn't including the other tariff cuts in this agreement, which the International Trade Commission predicts will add more than $10 billion annually to our GDP.

* Within agriculture, we could see dairy exports to Korea quadruple under this agreement. Fruit and vegetable sales would increase by 50 percent. And processed food sales would increase by more than a third.

* Those increased sales will translate directly to more jobs--both on and off the farm. That's especially good news because workers whose jobs depend on trade earn 13 to 18 percent more than the national average.

* That's why there is such tremendous support among the agricultural community for these free trade agreements.

* I strongly urge my colleagues to support our farmers and ranchers ..... to support American jobs ..... and to support this free trade agreement.

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