The U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement has been signed by President George Bush and now faces a vote before Congress, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

The accord includes the U.S. and the countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

“Pork was an extremely contentious issue in these negotiations, but U.S. pork producers ended up with a great result, in large part because the U.S. negotiating team insisted on including all agricultural products in this agreement,” explains NPPC President Keith Berry, Greencastle, IN, pork producer.

Terms call for immediate and phased-in concessions on pork and pork products. The U.S. will be able to ship pork using a tariff rate quota, which will increase each year. The quota and the tariffs will be phased out over 15 years.