Coalition Letter Asks President to Welcome Japan into TPP

The food and agricultural organizations and companies that signed onto this letter strongly support the entry of Japan into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and urge the United States and the other members of the TPP to welcome Japan as a full member as quickly as possible.

Click here to read the submitted letter.

Announcing CBOT Black Sea Wheat Futures

Introducing CBOT Black Sea Wheat futures, the first physically delivered Wheat futures contract with delivery points in Russian, Ukrainian and Romanian ports along the Black Sea.  This contract will be listed for electronic trading on the CME Globex platform starting June 6, 2012 and cleared through CME Clearing.

This contract will provide participants with the first truly effective tool for price discovery and risk management in the rapidly growing Black Sea Wheat market – a need that has been underserved by existing futures contracts, which have not offered strong correlations to regional wheat price returns.

Features:

  • Physically delivered wheat through Russian, Ukrainian and Romanian ports
  • U.S. dollar-denominated
  • Electronically traded on CME Globex
  • Access to a market that accounts for over 20 percent of global wheat exports
  • Regionally relevant trading hours: 10:00 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. GMT+ 2 (GMT +3 daylight savings) / 2:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Chicago Time (CT)
  • Dedicated market makers offering two-sided markets
  • Centrally cleared by CME Clearing
  • More than 100 years of experience building liquid and global agricultural commodity benchmarks

The addition of CBOT Black Sea Wheat futures further enhances benchmark opportunities available through CME Group’s leading wheat trading platform, which is headlined by CBOT Wheat futures, the world’s most liquid global wheat benchmark.

Learn more:

CMC Signed Ag Trade Coalition Letter Supporting Siddiqui Nomination

CMC signed onto the final letter that was sent to the Senate Finance Committee members supporting Isi Siddiqui for the post of Chief Agricultural Negotiator.   The confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee happened on Monday, September 12, 2011.

U.S. and Colombia Agree to Action Plan for Trade Agreement

By Kelsey Snell

After months of negotiation, White House officials announced an action agreement with Colombia on Wednesday that could bring a long-stalled trade agreement with the South American country to Congress this year.

Under the agreement, the Colombian government must meet a series of benchmarks on labor law, labor violence, and prosecution of those who commit violence. Obama administration officials said the requirements in the plan should be sufficient to allow the trade pact to advance.

The deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, Michael Froman, told reporters the plan provides incremental steps that constitute a “fulsome approach” that will resolve concerns that so far have prevented the administration from advancing the trade agreement.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Colombia will be expected to complete some steps of the action plan before the agreement can be submitted to Congress. Others are slated to be fulfilled while Congress considers the deal and others are expected to be resolved before the deal is ratified, he said.

Assuming that Colombia fulfills its part, Kirk said the agreement will satisfy administration labor concerns, and once the pact has taken effect the U.S. will be able to enforce labor provisions through dispute settlement processes spelled out in the pact.

Though much of the call focused on the Colombian agreement, White House officials also confirmed that a pending pact with Panama is also nearly complete and both deals are expected to advance to Congress shortly.

“We are now in the position where we can have a conversation with Congress about when would be the best time to move forward with Colombia and Korea, and very soon we hope to be in that position with Panama,” Kirk told reporters.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will travel to Washington on Thursday to meet with President Obama in order to finalize the pact.

“We are encouraged by the action plan. We anticipate that our presidents will approve it, but we want to make clear that it is a working document,” Kirk said.

Though the plan is a significant step forward, White House officials refused to commit to a time frame for drafting the final implementation bill with members of Congress. Both Froman and Kirk stressed that Colombia will have to meet those requirements in order for the U.S to move forward.

Earlier, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the labor and judicial reforms should satisfy lawmakers’ concerns.

“Presidents Obama and Santos showed courage and pragmatism in striking this accord,” said U.S. Chamber President Thomas Donohue.

Colombia-Canada FTA Expected to Enter into Force by July 1

The Government of Colombia has cleared the last procedural hurdle to implement the Colombia-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA), with the Colombian Constitutional Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the pact.  This, coupled with diplomatic procedures expected to take place over the next couple of months, sets the stage for implementation of the FTA by July 1, 2011.

 

Facts about the FTA and Colombia’s trade ties with Canada:

  • When the FTA enters into force, Colombia will eliminate tariffs on 98 percent of Canadian goods, both immediately and within 10 years of implementation.
  • Colombia will immediately remove tariffs on Canadian exports of wheat, barley, lentils, peas, beef, paper products and machinery and equipment.
  • Colombia will also eliminate the use of its price band system on select products, including wheat, barley and pork.
  • Canada is Colombia’s second largest supplier of wheat, accounting for 33 percent of total imports in 2009, up from roughly 18 percent in 2008.
  • Colombian imports of barley from Canada have increased by 46.3 percent over the past five years.
  • Canada is one of the world’s top exporters of pork. Between 2004 and 2009, pork exports to Colombia increased by 534.1 percent.

In 2010, bilateral trade between the two countries accounted for more than $1.3 billion, which is expected to increase when the FTA enters into force.

Learn more here.

SENATE GOP LETTER TO MAJORITY LEADER REID ON TRADE AGREEMENTS WITH COLOMBIA AND PANAMA

“Until the President submits both agreements to Congress for approval and commits to signing implementing legislation into law, we will use all the tools at our disposal to force action, including withholding support for any nominee for Commerce Secretary and any trade-related nominees.”

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.The following is a letter signed by 44 Republican Senators, including Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican Whip Jon Kyl, Ranking Member for the Senate Finance Committee Senator Orrin Hatch and former U.S. Trade Representative, Senator Rob Portman, which was delivered to Senator Harry Reid on Monday. The letter states “As a result of the administration’s failure to act on these agreements, American companies and their workers are losing market share and are being denied valuable business opportunities. At the same time, Colombia and Panama are continuing to expand their trading partnerships elsewhere, signing bilateral free trade agreements with the European Union, Canada, and other countries which are eager to move into these large markets at the expense of U.S. workers.”

A PDF of the original is also attached.

 

Full letter to Senator Reid: Read more of this post

KORUS Opponents Find House Democrats Not Yet Focused On Korea FTA

From Inside U.S. Trade

Members of the House Trade Working Group are finding it difficult to assess the position of other Democratic lawmakers on the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement because legislators are focused on other issues such as the ongoing budget battle, according to Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME), who heads the group.

“They haven’t been focused on it up until this point,” Michaud said in a March 16 press conference in which he and eight other House Democrats highlighted their opposition to the Korea FTA. “We’ve been busy dealing with continuing resolutions [to fund the federal government].”

Michaud said that members of the House Trade Working Group will continue “educating our [Democratic] colleagues” on the implications of the Korea free trade deal. “And once they find out what’s in it, I think they’ll have a different perception of it,” he said. Read more of this post