While Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack gave a needed push to the proposed U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) earlier this month, more should be done to ensure this opportunity doesn’t slip by, according to an editorial published today in the Lincoln Journal Star.

The editorial pointed to the results of an American Meat Institute analysis, which estimates the impact of the FTA on the U.S. economy.

“Approval of the trade pact would provide an economic boost for Nebraska by expanding the South Korean market for American beef and pork,” the editorial stated. “The American Meat Institute estimates the pact would increase U.S. meat exports by $2.1 billion and create 27,425 American jobs. The agreement would gradually eliminate the 40 percent tariff on American beef over 15 years.”

The editorial noted that while there is apparently considerable support for the proposed agreement in Congress, the measure remains stalled because of “political machinations involving both Democrats and Republicans.”

“This game of chicken is yet another chapter in a story that has dragged on since the Bush administration signed agreements with the three countries and Peru in 2007,” the editorial read. Congress approved the pact with Peru, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blocked the other three pacts from a vote.

“Vilsack was right to shine a spotlight on the economic importance of the Korean trade pact. Congress played too many games with the proposal. It's time to put the agreement in place before Australia gets a long-term competitive advantage,” the editorial concluded.

To view the editorial, click here.