Apr 02 2012
The Herald-Leader revision for the inclusion of tobacco in the free trade agreements does not account for a significant contribution to the economy of tobacco growers of our state. In addition, the editors have a fundamental misunderstanding of how tobacco and other commodities are generally considered free trade agreements.
The General Assembly in recent years – and unanimously – adopted a resolution urging the Obama administration to follow the precedent of trade, and include the leaves of tobacco and tobacco products in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
We sponsored the resolution, because tobacco is one of the leading export crop of Kentucky, more than 80 percent of it is grown for export. This is a regional trade agreement with the eight countries in Asia-Pacific region will have implications for thousands of old Kentucky, who work in the cultivation of tobacco.
Our position is supported by Governor Steve Beshear, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and every member of the Kentucky Congressional delegation. The fact that all the products of agriculture, traditionally included in the free trade agreement, but some in the Obama administration is trying to cut Kentucky farmers and their products from the transaction.
We just ask that tobacco is seen as all agricultural products traditionally considered.
If Kentucky farmers cut, they will not compete on an equal footing with competitors in Brazil, Malawi and other tobacco-producing countries. At a time when our economy remains unstable, it is inconceivable that the administration will seek to lack of thousands of tobacco farmers who depend on exports to support their families.
While the editors can not argue about the cultivation of tobacco as an honorable and decent employment, we are proud to stand on one of the branches of the signature of Kentucky, especially when it is threatened by out of state special interests.
This latest development there to be disputes the inclusion of tobacco in large free-trade agreements. In fact, the Obama administration’s Department of Agriculture Bulletin is produced in September last year, recently approved by Colombia Free Trade Agreement touted the economic benefits of the transaction for tobacco producers.
People inside the President Department of Agriculture got it right. When tariffs are reduced by the Kentucky tobacco is grown, is good for the economy of our state. Tobacco manufacturers are simply asking the administration to follow the same logic, until the autumn of last year, when trumpeting the benefits of free trade in Colombia.
Unfortunately, the administration is currently lobbying anti-smoking activists who want to discriminate against producers of Kentucky in the agreement, which affects three-quarters of agricultural exports of the country. This is not about whether people should or should not use tobacco, which is a legal product in the world. The question is whether the federal government is going to increase the foreign farmers in the American farmers.
Sound trade policy is important for the economic well-being, almost all employed in agriculture, as well as free trade agreements should not be making money for the radical special interests, which could not care less about American farm families.
U.S. President Barack Obama can either go down by the responsible trade policy, which increases exports or spark economic growth, or it may bow to pressure from special interests intent to destroy American jobs. It’s funny, if the radical special interests get their way, there will be less tobacco consumed in the countries affected by the agreement on free trade. These countries will simply consume tobacco are grown in foreign countries.
Can you imagine the federal government is actively encouraging other countries to discriminate against legal, American-made products in any other industry?
This is not a partisan issue; it’s a clear question, affecting the living conditions of the farmers of Kentucky Tobacco and Health agriculture of our state.