Trade Deal With South Korea Good For U.S. Pork

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Exports of U.S. pork to South Korea under the free trade agreement negotiated between that country and the United States will be double the amount currently shipped to America’s No. 1 pork export market, Japan, the National Pork Producers Council today told the International Trade Commission.
calendar icon 21 June 2007
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“The U.S.-Korea FTA will give U.S. pork a big advantage in this lucrative market over other foreign competitors,” Brian Buhr, a professor of applied economics at the University of Minnesota, told the ITC in testimony on behalf of NPPC.

The United States already has a 27 percent share of the total Korean pork import market, making it the largest foreign supplier of pork to the Asian nation. Canada has a 20 percent share of the Korean market, Chile a 10 percent share and European countries a 40 percent share.

“The U.S.-Republic of Korea FTA will add nearly $825 million dollars to the U.S. pork industry in additional pork exports,” Buhr told the commission. “It is the most economically important FTA since the NAFTA and will significantly impact the price of U.S. live hogs.”

South Korea will absorb 5 percent of total U.S. pork production, and the Korea FTA, when fully implemented, will cause live U.S. hog prices to be $10 higher than would otherwise have been the case.

Under the terms of the FTA, tariffs on all frozen and processed pork products will be eliminated by 2014. Fresh chilled pork will be duty free 10 years after implementation. U.S. pork products currently face tariffs as high as 30 percent.

In addition to ambitious market access gains, South Korea has agreed to accept all pork and pork products from USDA-approved facilities. This provision lessens the likelihood of unfair technical or sanitary barriers, Buhr pointed out.

The trade deal, on which NPPC worked to get favorable treatment for U.S. pork and pork products, is pending a vote by the U.S. Congress. The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea also must approve the pact, which was formally completed April 1.

The trade deal with South Korea was made possible in part because of the effective working relationship between NPPC and the National Pork Checkoff Board and their shared goal of increasing U.S. pork exports.

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