U.S. farmers on Thursday celebrated the approval of free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, saying the pacts will increase demand for their products, though American consumers shouldn’t see a drastic increase in overall food prices.
Congress approved the agreements Wednesday night, calling for the elimination of tariffs on U.S. products exported to those countries.
Farm exports are expected to increase by $2.3 billion and 20,000 agriculture-related jobs are expected to be created under the agreements, which will gradually be phased in.
“Other parts of the economy will benefit, but none more so than agriculture,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Farm exports are expected to reach $137 billion over the next year.