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US pork council applauds Obama's pressure on Korea FTA

US president Obama has signaled his intention to set a deadline for removing outstanding obstacles to the implementation of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to gain congressional approval of the deal in 2011.

The FTA would be one of the most lucrative ever for the US pork industry, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), which has championed the pact for three years now.

At the G-20 summit in Toronto this past weekend, the president indicated he wants the deal done by the next G-20 meeting,  which will be held in Seoul, South Korea, in November. US Trade Representative Ron Kirk will be tasked with working with his Korean counterpart to bring about.

Awaiting action
The US-Korea FTA was completed and signed on June 30, 2007, but it has been awaiting action by Congress on the necessary implementing legislation. That legislation has been held up by demands from lawmakers that improvements be made to the agreement in certain sectors, including automobiles.

“Having a firm deadline for resolving the outstanding issues is a major step forward and is wonderful news for American pork  producers,” said NPPC president Sam Carney. “This is what we have been hoping to hear for almost three years,” he added. “The export opportunities the FTA offers US producers of pork and many other agricultural products in the Korean market are truly remarkable.”

One of three
The US-Korea FTA is one of three that are pending approval by Congress. Agreements with Colombia and Panama also have been awaiting action for more than three years. NPPC has been calling for action on all three FTAs for years, pointing out the enormous risk of letting other countries move forward first. 

A trade deal between Korea and the European Union is also waiting to be approved.

Related websites:
European Union (EU)
National Pork Producers Council (NPPC)

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