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Last Updated:[08-01-2010 05:12:26 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

US Farm Bureau Laments Trade Deal Delays Ahead of Annual Meet



tradenews An official of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the largest farm organization in the US said delays by Obama administration to strike trade deals with potential countries and blocs were causing distress to the farming community of the country. This indictment came just ahead of AFBF’s 91st annual meeting scheduled to be held in Seattle, Washington between Jan 10 and 13.

Mark Maslyn, the Executive Director, Public Policy at AFBF apprised there would be over 600 trade deals worldwide this year, including a possible Australia-Korea deal, whereas the US would have just 20. The US agriculture which has largely benefitted from the FTAs with Australia and other countries are lately facing stiff competition from the Asian and the Latin American countries.

While Australia has struck an FTA with the ASEAN, the US bilateral deals have been delayed due to political quagmire. The farmers feel betrayed by the inactivity of the government on trade deals as it is difficult to assess the damage that could be caused by such delays to the agricultural industry.

The Obama administration refused so far, to send key trade deals to the Congress to be ratified. According to an ABC report, Maslyn observes, "Our competitors are striking deals with the same countries that we're striking deals with and we can't get ours through Congress."
He also blamed the US labor unions for thwarting the deals, while the unions blamed 'bad' trade deals for sending the US jobs overseas.


As per the official website of AFBF, the climate change legislation, livestock care issues and social media tools will be at the forefront of topics to be discussed during the annual meet. Interestingly, some climate scientists have sent a letter requesting a meeting with the AFBF President Bob Stallman to discuss his federation’s "inaccurate and marginalized" position on global warming, claimed to be a larger issue than striking trade deals.

The Farm Bureau maintains that "there is no generally agreed upon scientific assessment on...carbon emissions from human activities, their impact on past decades of warming, or how they will affect future climate changes." According to the letter, the federation’s stance completely ignores the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change, a problem that puts Farm Bureau members at risk. The scientists' letter stands in stark contrast to the opinions of climate change denier Christopher Horner, who will be the only scheduled speaker addressing climate at the federation’s annual meeting.

The AFBF or the Farm Bureau is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and representing the interests of farmers and ranchers in the US. It has about 2800, county farm organizations which in turn elect representatives to state farm bureaus.

By Jose Roy




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