Today there is a lot of skepticism about trade agreements. Do these deals really benefit U.S. agriculture? The Colombia Free Trade agreement has been in place for close to a decade. Undersecretary for Trade Ted McKinney is in Colombia this week and told HAT in an interview that ethanol and popcorn are two Indiana products that have benefited from agreement. “The poultry and pork market here is growing,” he stated. “We have heard loud and clear that they have a need for No.2 yellow corn, soymeal, and other feed stocks for the livestock sector.” He added Colombia is a growing market now that that it has settled some of its political strife.
McKinney said, while there is lots of focus on Mexico and Canada as markets for U.S. farmers, there are many South American markets that represent opportunities for U.S. agriculture. “If there was a time when Venezuela would open up under whatever form of government they have, that could be a major market for the U.S.,” he said. “Venezuela was at one time the number 1 market for the U.S.” He said the CFTA is one of the best examples of a good and fair trade deal, one that truly benefits agriculture.
McKinney continued to express optimism about eventual implementation of the USMCA agreement. He hopes for a deal with China, but was unable to give any specifics or reveal any new developments.