The failure of the United States to approve free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea would result in the U.S. pork industry being out of those markets within 10 years at a cost to producers of more than $11.50 per pig and to the U.S. economy of thousands of jobs, according to analyses released by the National Pork Producers Council.
Conducted by Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the analyses take into account the trade agreements the three countries have concluded with other nations. Colombia and Panama recently finalized FTAs with Canada, and South Korea is nearing completion on a deal with the European Union.
NPPC joined with the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and National Corn Growers Association in decrying congressional inaction on the pending trade deals at a press conference (3 May).
Need expanded markets access
“It is clear,” said Don Butler, NPPC immediate past president, “that without new trade agreements, the United States will be going backward by standing still. Our industry can't afford that; our country can't afford that.
“For us to remain a successful and viable industry,” added Butler, “we need new and expanded market access. And the way to get that is through free trade agreements.”
Exports are vital to the U.S. pork industry, which last year shipped more than $4.3 billion of pork products, an amount that added about $38 to the price producers received for each hog marketed.
Pork – and other – exports also create jobs, adding to the overall U.S. economy. For every 1 percent increase in the size of the U.S. pork industry, an expansion that would come through a rise in exports, 920 full-time pork industry jobs are created and nearly 4,600 jobs are generated throughout the economy, according to Hayes.
The U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement would add $10 to the price U.S. pork producers receive for each hog marketed and would create more than 3,600 pork industry and 18,000 total jobs. The FTAs with Colombia and Panama would, respectively, add $1.15 and 20 cents to the price of each hog sold and generate 3,500 and 600 pork industry jobs, according to a separate analysis of the FTAs conducted by Hayes.