The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) praised the Obama administration for sending to Congress today implementing legislation for the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, which will be a boon to U.S. pork producers. It asked the Senate and House to approve the deals as soon as possible.

“We are very pleased that the president has sent up for congressional approval the agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea,” says Doug Wolf, NPPC president and a pork producer from Lancaster, WI. “U.S. pork producers need new and expanded market access to remain competitive in the global marketplace. And the way to get that is through free trade agreements.”

For the U.S. pork industry, the deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, when fully implemented, would add more than $11 to the price producers receive for each hog sold and generate more than 10,000 pork industry jobs, according to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.

“We need to implement these FTAs now,” Wolf says, “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.”
In fact, the European Union’s trade agreement with South Korea went into effect July 1, and a trade deal between Colombia and Canada became effective Aug. 15.

“NPPC and America’s pork producers urge lawmakers to pass the three FTAs as soon as possible,” Wolf says. “These deals will generate sales, income and jobs for a U.S. economy that desperately needs them.”

Also today, more than 80 companies and business and agricultural organizations, including NPPC, signed onto letters on each of the FTAs, asking Congress to approve the agreements immediately. The trade pacts will generate more than $2 billion in additional U.S. sales.

Exports are vital to the U.S. 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.