Illinois Corn Growers Association President Jim Reed, a family farmer from Monticello, IL, released the following statement today after learning of the significant progress being made in Washington, DC, toward ratification of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement:
“The Colombian market is certainly valuable to Illinois corn farmers since roughly half of the corn grown in our state is exported. The pending ratification of a free trade agreement with Colombia means that our access to that market will be equal to that of other nations around the world. By removing trade barriers, we can secure the Illinois corn farmer’s position in the effort to provide high quality feed grains while enabling the Colombian people access to corn at a price relative to the world market, rather than prices distorted by politics.”
Interesting points regarding corn exports and the Colombian market:
- Illinois is the United States’ largest exporter of corn at 1.183 billion bushels, exporting nearly 2.5 times more than the next largest exporter (Minnesota exports 492 million bushels).
- Not a single U.S. agricultural product now benefits from a zero tariff in Colombia and applied tariffs range from 5 to 20 percent.
- In 2010, the United States exported $832 million of agricultural products to Colombia. Top U.S. exports were wheat, corn, cotton, soybeans, and corn gluten feed.
- Under the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, the United States would have immediate access to Colombia’s market for 2.1 million metric tons (approx 82.7 million bushels) of corn at a zero percent duty.
- Colombia has traditionally been one of the top ten export markets for U.S. corn.
- With tariff removal, Illinois corn can flow more freely to meet world market demand at transparent prices, eliminating a portion of worldwide transportation costs, thereby more efficiently distributing food and feed commodities in the face of tight grain supplies.
- In 2010, the United States exported $98 million of corn to Colombia, even with existing tariff structures.