(Washington, D.C.) – Today H.R. 3078, the Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, H.R. 3079, the Panama Trade Promotion Agreement, and H.R. 3080, the Korea Free Trade Agreement, passed in the House of Representatives.

“Mississippi farmers and manufacturers have been waiting on these three free trade agreements since President Obama took office. After years of delay, we will finally create a level playing field by opening new markets that allow for job stability and job creation – 250,000 new jobs right here at home. Farmers, manufacturers and businesses in the first district of Mississippi will be able to better compete for jobs while selling their goods and services not only in the United States, but across the globe,” said Nunnelee.

What do these FTAs mean for Mississippi?

More Jobs and New Markets:

· 2004-2008 Mississippi trade-related employment grew more than five times faster than total employment from 2004-2008 (Business Round Table). Past trade agreements have allowed Mississippi exports to flourish:

Ø MS exports to Chile grew 1240 percent as a result of the U.S. – Chile FTA (2004)
Ø MS exports to Australia grew 321 percent as a result of the U.S. Australia agreement (2005)

· Mississippi exports totaled $8.2 billion in 2010 (U.S. Department of Commerce)

· Exports directly supported an estimated 17,513 Mississippi jobs; of those 5,705 were jobs located in the First District (U.S. Chamber of Commerce – Trade Supports Jobs)

· 1,314 companies exported goods from MS locations in 2008, of these companies, 981 were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), businesses with fewer than 500 employees. SMEs were responsible for 23.6 percent (nearly one-quarter) of Mississippi’s total exports of merchandise (U.S. Department of Commerce).

· FTAs Among Top 25 Countries that Mississippi Product Currently Exported (U.S. Census Bureau)

Ø Panama (3), Colombia (9), South Korea (25)

Mississippi Companies Speak Out in Favor of FTAs:

Mark Johnson, National Manager, Government Affairs, Toyota Motor North America
“Toyota supports passage of the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) pending before Congress. U.S. open trade policies have helped Toyota invest in U.S. auto production, R&D and create stable jobs. Toyota along with our dealers and suppliers has created nearly 200,000 American jobs and operates 10 U.S. manufacturing plants in 9 states. In a few weeks Toyota will begin production at its newest plant in Mississippi, which will create an additional 2,000 jobs.”

Randy Knight, President, Mississippi Farm Bureau® Federation
“Passing the Free Trade Agreement is one of the best and easiest economic decisions that can be made for Mississippi. This agreement will not only increase our direct farm exports by $26.5 million per year, it will add approximately 235 jobs to the Mississippi economy. Mississippi family farms will benefit greatly from an open access to new markets for poultry, beef, rice, and catfish, just to name a few. Passage of this important piece of legislation will represent a bright spot during a year of weather-related disasters in our farming community. When local farmers are given the opportunities they need to succeed, our nation’s agricultural industry as a whole is strengthened. A strong domestic agriculture offers every American access to one of the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supplies in the world.”

Mark Leggett, President, Mississippi Poultry Association
“Poultry is Mississippi’s largest agricultural commodity and 20 percent of it is exported. Americans’ chicken consumption will not grow much in the future, but there is great potential for growth in exports and these three trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea will open the door to more Mississippi chicken products and improve the market for Mississippi chicken growers and companies.”

Danny Murphy, Vice President, Mississippi Soybean Association
“The Mississippi Soybean Association fully supports the passage of the FTA’s with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. More than 800 farmers in the 1st District of Mississippi grow over 300,000 acres of soybeans. With a limited number of processors in Mississippi, most of the 75,000,000 bushels of soybeans produced in Mississippi each year are exported. These agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will reduce or eliminate import tariffs on soybeans, soybean meal and soybean oil, which will increase exports. Over the last 4 years, Canada, the EU, and the Mercosur nations (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay) have signed FTA’s with one or more of these three countries, resulting in loss of market share of soybeans and other US agricultural exports. These losses are estimated at more than $800 million in Colombia alone. The implementation of these agreements will increase agricultural exports by $3 billion per year and also result in the creation of more than 24,000 jobs.”

Nunnelee release