Korean trade deal good for pork producers


WASHINGTON – U.S. pork producers will receive an additional $10 per pig once the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement is fully implemented, according to the National Pork Producers Council.
Details of the agreement were recently made public by the Bush administration. The trade deal, on which National Pork Producers Council worked to get favorable treatment for U.S. pork and pork products, is pending a vote by the U.S. Congress.
The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea also must approve the pact, which was formally completed April 1.
Important. “This is the single most important trade agreement ever for the U.S. pork industry, and it will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new export sales,” said council President Jill Appell, a pork producer from Altona, Ill.
South Korea – where pork constitutes 44 percent of daily meat protein consumption – already is the fourth-largest market for U.S. pork and pork products.
According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, by the end of the free trade agreement phase-in period, total U.S. pork exports to the Asian nation will rise to nearly 600,000 metric tons.
That’s about twice as much as the amount currently shipped to Japan, the No. 1 export market for U.S. pork.
Effects. Hayes also estimates the agreement will increase U.S. live hog prices by $10. Under terms of the deal, tariffs will be eliminated on all frozen and processed pork products by 2014.
Fresh chilled pork will be duty-free 10 years after implementation, with a safeguard. In addition to ambitious market-access gains, the Republic of Korea has agreed to accept all pork and pork products from USDA-approved packing facilities.
“Prompt congressional passage and implementation of this agreement is absolutely critical to pork producers, who are facing rising feed costs because of U.S. renewable fuel policy,” said Appell.
“Exports contribute significantly to producer profitability, so it is important to continue expanding sales opportunities through trade agreements.”


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