Producer-members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) are applauding today’s action by the Senate Finance Committee that led to passage of the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) by voice vote.    

The Senate bill (S. 1307) now moves to the full Senate for an up-or-down vote.  The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to mark up its legislation (H.R. 3045) tomorrow.  Cattlemen are hopeful the beef-friendly agreement will prevail.

 “For cattle producers, CAFTA-DR represents a perfect opportunity to increase our export market access, sell more beef and make more money,” says Jim McAdams, a Texas cattleman and NCBA president. “For months we have been communicating the benefits of this win-win agreement, and we’re hopeful it will see swift passage in Congress in the next few weeks.”

 NCBA has joined more than 81 national agricultural industry and farm groups which represent the overwhelming majority of the U.S. agriculture sector in support of the agreement.  The groups sent a letter June 27 to Senate leaders commending efforts to ensure this agreement is one that the U.S. agriculture sector can wholeheartedly support. 

  “The six countries of CAFTA-DR – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – have a growing resort and tourism industry which presents a perfect market for U.S. high-quality grain-fed beef, “ says McAdams. “In addition, this agreement eliminates current tariffs on high-quality U.S. beef on Day One of implementation, and eventually phases all duties to zero.”

  NCBA says U.S. beef product exports to the CAFTA-DR nations could TRIPLE by 2015 to $41 million from the current $12.5 million. 

 For this reason, cattlemen must continue to contact their members of Congress and ask that the CAFTA-DR see full passage as quickly as possible, McAdams says – especially during the July 4 recess.

 “We need a continued push from cattlemen in the country.  Attend town hall meetings or other events, write a letters to members of Congress, or call their offices to ask that they support and vote for this agreement!” says McAdams.  “Your conversation just might be the one your Senator or Congressman remembers when he casts his vote!”

  For more information about the beef provisions of CAFTA-DR, and NCBA’s economic analysis, please visit http://hill.beef.org/cafta.