Calling it one of the “greatest victories ever for the US pork industry, ” the National Pork Producers Council lauded congressional approval of the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
“These trade agreements will be a boon for US pork producers and for the US economy and jobs,” said Doug Wolf, NPPC president and a pork producer from Lancaster, Wis. “Passage of these FTAs is one of the greatest victories ever for the US pork industry.”
The Senate and House last night passed each of the FTAs by comfortable margins.
The deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, when fully implemented, will generate nearly $772 million in new pork sales, add more than $11 to the price producers receive for each hog marketed and create more than 10,000 pork industry jobs, according to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.
“It was extremely important that we approved these FTAs now,” Wolf said, “because while these deals have languished for more than four years, our competitors have negotiated their own trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, and the United States has lost market share in those countries.”
The US pork industry was instrumental in getting the trade agreements approved, particularly the deal with South Korea. Last December when the United States and the Asian nation were at an impasse over trade in autos, the U.S. pork industry agreed to move back the effective date for when much of its exports enter Korea at a zero tariff rate. NPPC led the agricultural community in support of the FTAs.
“America’s pork producers are grateful to the Obama administration's trade team, including U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and to Congress for getting the trade agreements done,” Wolf said. “Now we call on the United States and these three FTA partners to get the agreements implemented ASAP. The longer it takes to implement, the more U.S. market share in these nations will be imperiled.”
Exports are vital to the US pork industry, which last year shipped nearly $4.8 billion of pork, an amount that added about $56 to the price producers received for each hog marketed.