U.S. pork exports to Mexico have plummeted by a whopping 20% since the Mexican government added pork to its list of U.S. products it is retaliating against for the failure of the U.S. government to live up to its trade obligations.

Mexico imposed a 5% tariff on most U.S. pork imports in August, along with other U.S. products, in reprisal for the United States not complying with a provision of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that allows Mexican trucks to transport goods into this country. The provision was intended to become effective in December 1995.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has urged the Obama administration to expedite resolution of the trucking dispute, which first surfaced in March 2009, when Mexico imposed higher tariffs on an estimated $2.4 billion of U.S. products after the U.S. Congress failed to renew a pilot program that permitted a limited number of Mexican trucking companies to haul freight beyond a 25-mile U.S. commercial zone.

Recent data from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Canadian government indicates that U.S. pork exports to Mexico dropped by nearly 5,500 tons from August to September, a loss of about $9 million, while Canadian pork exports climbed by almost 2,200 tons.

“The trucking issue needs to be resolved now, before the U.S. pork industry loses even more of its market share in Mexico,” says NPPC President Sam Carney, a pork producer from Adair, IA. “We’re talking about the livelihoods of American hog farmers; we’re talking about lost U.S. jobs. And it isn’t just the pork industry. This is happening to the producers of the other 98 products on the retaliation list.”

Mexico is the second-largest market for the U.S. pork industry, shipping $762 million of pork products to our southern neighbor in 2009. Since 1993, the year before NAFTA was passed, U.S. pork exports to Mexico have increased by 580%.