Paul Casper, a soybean farmer from Lake Preston, S.D., and president of the South Dakota Soybean Association (SDSA), went before the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness today to highlight the importance of a strong and expanding relationship with trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region, and advocate for the aggressive pursuit of market-opening initiatives within the area.

Representing SDSA, and the American Soybean Association (ASA), Casper cited the staggering growth and potential of the Asia-Pacific region, which represents close to 60 percent of world GDP, nearly 50 percent of world trade, and is home to more than 2.7 billion people, as a major factor in expanded export opportunities for U.S. soybean producers. 

 “The rapidly growing markets in the Asia Pacific region, led by China, are key drivers of U.S. soybean demand. In fact, six of the top 10 foreign markets for U.S. soybeans are in the Asia Pacific region.

“We strongly encourage the U.S. Government to aggressively pursue market-opening initiatives throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and we strongly support the inclusion of Japan in the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations,” stated Casper in his testimony.

Casper hailed the recently-implemented free trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea as evidence of how expanding trade with Asia-Pacific partners benefits American producers.

“Nearly two-thirds of U.S. agricultural exports to Korea are now duty-free, including U.S. soybeans for crushing and U.S. soybean meal,” he stated. “Implementation of the agreement will also trigger the gradual elimination of tariffs on refined soybean oil over five years, and the elimination of tariffs on crude soybean oil over 10 years.”