Acadia Parish and our State in general are blessed with the most efficient and productive agricultural industry in the world. Acadia Parish farmers alone raise roughly 85,000 acres of rice, 40,000 acres of soybeans & 30,000 acres of crawfish every year. We continually produce huge surpluses and it’s imperative to the survival of our farming and agri-business industry that export markets are found for all excess capacity. The USDA estimates that Louisiana’s annual agricultural exports total approximately $838 million. Exports abroad account for over 6,700 jobs in Louisiana, and the total State farm economy produces $2.5 billion annually. That’s a lot of jobs and a lot of money for our area and state.
The Federal Government recently signed a free trade agreement (“FTA”) with South Korea which benefits our soybean industry. The FTA directly impacts Acadia Parish by eliminating tariffs and other barriers. Unfortunately rice was not included in this agreement but the economic impact on our soybean industry will be substantial. Specifically, Soybeans are the third largest source of farm cash receipts in the state, with annual sales of $331 million.
A few of the South Korean FTA advantages to our area soybean farmers and processors are as follows:
- Korea will immediately stop charging a 5% applied tariff on food-use soybeans. In addition, Korea will establish a duty-free tariff-rate quota (TRQ) starting at 10,000 metric tons for identity-preserved soybeans for food use. This quota will operate outside the current state trading entity, which has charged a reported $250 per ton markup on soybean imports supplied to soybean curd processors.
- The current tariff on Soybean imports for crushing will be eliminated immediately.
- Korean tariffs on imports of crude soybean oil, the majority of Korea’s soybean oil imports, will decline from the current 5.4% tariff over 10 years. Refined oil tariff rates will decline from the current 5.4% in five equal annual reductions. Korea’s 3% tariff on soybean flour and meal will immediately go to zero.
What’s all this mean? It will be less costly for our soybean producers to sell their crops to South Korean consumers. That’s good for Acadia Parish; it’s good for Louisiana; it’s good for the United States of America!
Candidate for State Representative—Dist 42
Acadia & Lafayette Parishes