The U.S.-Korean Free Trade Agreement that will go into full effect on March 15, 2012 will potentially more than double the value of U.S. pork exports to South Korea. In 2010, the value of U.S. pork exports and variety meats to that country was $190 million. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) projects that total could more than double to $400 million by 2016 when all product duties are phased out.

USMEF officials say upon implementation, duties on the most commonly exported frozen U.S. pork items will be reduced from 25% to 16%. Pork offal duties will be reduced from 18% to 12%.

A certain quantity of imported pork, from all sources, has been entering Korea duty-free over the past year under a tariff rate quota, USMEF says. That temporary measure was designed to ease Korea’s pork supply shortage from the country’s foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. This policy is expected to continue to some degree in 2012, trade group officials said.

Duties on U.S. pork (22.5% on chilled pork and 25% on frozen pork) will be phased:

•  To zero by Jan. 1, 2016 for “frozen other” (the category which accounts for the largest share of U.S. exports);

•  To zero by Jan. 1, 2014 for frozen bellies and bone-in frozen cuts, most offal (from 18%) and most processed products (reduced from 27% or 30% for most products);

•  To zero over 10 years for chilled cuts with a safeguard;

•  Sausages currently 18% to zero over five years;

•  Sausages currently 30% to zero by 2014.