Paul Casper, president of the South Dakota Soybean Association, went before the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness to highlight the importance of a strong and expanding relationship with trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region, and to advocate for the aggressive pursuit of market-opening initiatives within the area.
Representing the S.D. Soybean Association and the American Soybean Association, Casper cited the growth and potential of the Asia-Pacific region, which represents close to 60 percent of world gross domestic product, nearly 50 percent of world trade, and is home to more than 2.7 billion people, as a major factor in expanded export opportunities for U.S. soybean producers. He mentioned the recently-implemented free trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea as evidence of how expanding trade with Asia-Pacific partners benefits American producers. “Nearly two-thirds of U.S. agricultural exports to Korea are now duty-free, including U.S. soybeans for crushing and U.S. soybean meal,” said Casper. “Implementation of the agreement will also trigger the gradual elimination of tariffs on refined soybean oil over five years, and the elimination of tariffs on crude soybean oil over 10 years.
Soybean farmers support Japan joining the negotiations, said Casper, pointing to increased export opportunities for U.S. dairy, pork, beef and poultry products, which require soybean meal as feed.