In recognition of World Trade Month and National Beef Month, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) hosted a news conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday urging the Obama administration to send pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to Congress immediately.

NCBA was joined by American Farm Bureau Federation; American Soybean Association; National Association of Wheat Growers; National Corn Growers Association; and National Pork Producers Council.

The news conference was moderated by House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.). NCBA President Bill Donald said the pending trade agreements are long overdue and the unprecedented delay is putting U.S. agriculture at a competitive disadvantage.

“If Congress approves these agreements, the United States will ultimately have free trade for U.S. beef with approximately two-thirds of the population in the Western Hemisphere,” said Donald.

“Failure to implement the pending free trade agreements sends the wrong message to major export markets like China and Russia — markets with tremendous potential but limited or non-existent access. That demand will be met, why not with American beef?”

U.S. beef exports to South Korea added $25 in value to each of the 26.7 million head of steers and heifers produced in the United States in 2010. Unfortunately, according to Donald, all cuts of U.S. beef are hit with a 40 percent tariff resulting in more than $200 million in tariffs in 2010.