The submission to Congress t by President Obama of free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia is a positive step toward improving the U.S. balance of trade and creating new jobs in America, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) said on 3 October.
“This move by President Obama is a critical step toward passing free trade agreements that will help ensure a level playing field for U.S. exports internationally,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “We congratulate our trade negotiators for keeping these FTAs moving forward and urge Congress to move quickly to ratify them.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated that approval of the FTAs would increase U.S. agricultural exports $1.9 billion, $371 million and $46 million, respectively. They also would create an estimated 20,000 U.S. jobs.
For the U.S. red meat industry alone, it is projected that the U.S.-South Korea FTA would boost U.S. beef exports to more than $1 billion per year over the 15-year implementation period – up from $518 million in 2010. For pork, exports would more than double (from 2010 value) to more than $400 million by 2016. Korea is currently the fourth-largest value market for both U.S. beef and pork exports and the FTA will reduce duties of 40 percent on beef and about 25 percent on pork to zero, making U.S. red meat even more competitive.
Ratification of the Colombia and Panama FTAs would add an estimated $25 million in pork exports by 2016 and about $35 million in beef exports.
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to formally address the three trade pacts on Wednesday, clearing the measures for floor action.