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Legislatively Speaking
The National Grange Attends White House Fair Trade Event

By National Grange View from the Hill Newsletter

  JUNE 12, 2008 --

The National Grange recently was invited to send a representative to a World Trade Week event held on the White House South Lawn. The National Grange Legislative Director Leroy Watson represented the National Grange at this event. President Bush spoke advocating free and fair trade.

President Bush stated, "The American farmer and rancher expect us to work hard to open up markets for the products they grow. So, if you are a farmer out there in the heartland, seems like you'd want somebody working on your behalf here in Washington, making it easier for you to sell your crops. And that's exactly what we're doing in this administration."

President Bush stated that Congress should pass trade agreements that open up markets. Forty percent of American economic growth last year came as a result of exports. He said he would like to open up more exports and be able to sell American goods and services into more markets.

President Bush specifically talked about American farming. He said, "If you're a farmer, we [have] some products here, grown right here in the United States of America. If you're a farmer, it seems like you want people to work hard to make it easier for you to sell that orange somewhere else. Increased demand means it's more likely you'll be able to sell your crop."

One of the major trade issues President Bush addressed was a strong trade agreement with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. He used the dairy industry to illustrate his point. "There's a 20 percent tariff on dairy products from the United States into Colombia; 36 percent into Korea. That means that the cost of that dairy product is going to be 20 percent more expensive, which makes it harder to sell that product." He also used other agricultural crops such as oranges and broccoli as similar examples. He would like to reduce tariffs on goods and services sold to other countries. "And so the purpose of a trade agreement is to reduce those tariffs... to make the products less expensive," Bush stated.

It is interesting to note that most of the goods coming from Colombia enter America duty free. In other words, most goods that made in Colombia come to our country without any tax. Bush stated, "Frankly, doesn't seem very fair to me. It didn't seem fair to the Colombian government, either. They agree with me: let's just treat each other fairly."


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