Three free trade agreements (FTA) are stalled in Congress and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) says the failure of the United States to approve deals with Columbia, Panama and South Korea carry a huge price.
Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes says the result is the United States could be out of those markets within 10 years at a cost to producers of more than $11.50 per pig, and the loss to the U.S. economy of thousands of jobs.
Hayes’ analyses take into account the trade agreements the three countries have concluded with other nations. Columbia and Panama recently finalized FTAs with Canada and South Korea is nearing completion on a deal with the European Union.
NPPC joined with the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Corn Growers Association in attacking congressional inaction on the pending trade legislation at a press conference Monday.
“It is clear that without new trade agreements, the United States will be going backward by standing still. Our industry can’t afford that; our country can’t afford that,” states Don Butler, NPPC immediate past president.
“For us to remain a successful and viable industry,” adds Butler, “we need new and expanded market access. And the way to get that is through free trade agreements.”
The U.S. pork industry last year shipped more than $4.3 billion of pork products, adding about $38 to the price that producers received for each hog marketed.
Pork and other exports create jobs. For every 1% increase in the size of the U.S. pork industry, due to an expansion of exports, 920 full-time pork industry jobs are created and nearly 4,600 jobs are generated throughout the economy, according to Hayes.
The U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement would add $10 to the price U.S. producers receive for each hog marketed and would create more than 3,600 pork industry and 18,000 total jobs.
The FTAs with Columbia and Panama would, respectively, add $1.15 and 20 cents to the price of each hog sold and generate 3,500 and 600 pork industry jobs.