For the third time in a little more than a month, the United States National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) testified before US Congress in support of pending free trade agreements that will add significantly to pork producers' bottom line.
NPPC, at a hearing held by the House Agriculture Committee, urged passage of the free trade agreementes (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The deals, when fully implemented, will generate more than $770 million in additional pork exports, increase hog prices by more than $11 per head and create more than 10,000 US pork industry jobs, according to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.
European Union & Canada
Sam Carney, immediate past president of NPPC, who testified on behalf of the organisation, said, "We need to approve these FTAs as soon as possible because other pork exporting competitors, like the EU (European Union) and Canada, are moving forward with their own FTAs with those countries."
"Losing these markets would mean lost value to the hogs I sell, which would translate into less profits and ultimately lost jobs," added Carney, who also is chairman of NPPC’s trade policy committee.
Elimination of import restrictions
The council also called on US trade negotiators to insist that other countries, including Russia, Thailand and Vietnam, eliminate their import restrictions on, and non-science-based barriers to, US pork.
In his testimony, Carney urged Congress to allow to go forward a US Department of Transportation programme that will allow Mexican trucks to haul goods into the United States. Implementation of the program will resolve a long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement dispute between the United States and Mexico, which placed tariffs on $2.4 billion of US goods, including pork, because of the failure of the United States to live up to its NAFTA obligation on trucking.
Carney also criticised the US Department of Agriculture’s proposed regulation on buying and selling livestock – the GIPSA rule.
"The bottom line," he said, "is the rule will raise my costs and make the US pork industry less competitive in the global market, and that will mean lost US jobs.
"To continue as leaders in the global and domestic economies," Carney concluded, "the US pork industry needs free and fair trade and domestic policies that support America’s pork producers."
• US National Pork Producers Council (NPPC)