Trade boosts NC hog profits

by 5m Editor
23 July 2007, at 9:37am

US - When it comes to US trade policy, in recent years it has seemed more difficult to gain bipartisan agreement among American policymakers than to negotiate with foreign governments.

That was certainly the case earlier this year as four Free Trade Agreements negotiated by the Bush administration -- with Colombia, Panama, Peru and South Korea -- sat stalled in Congress over concerns about the lack of adequate labor and environmental standards in the pacts.

After weeks of negotiations between congressional leaders and the administration's trade policy team, the stalemate was recently broken when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S Trade Representative Susan Schwab announced an agreement on new labor and environment provisions for these and future FTAs.

With this crucial bipartisan breakthrough at the leadership level, the focus now shifts to the rest of the Congress. North Carolina pork producers fervently hope both political parties will unite behind their leaders and quickly approve the pending FTAs because these trade pacts will provide a much needed boost to U.S. pork exports.

Just how important are pork exports to North Carolina's economy? Nearly 3,200 jobs and $118 million of personal income are generated for the state from exports of North Carolina-grown pork, according to Iowa State University economists Daniel Otto and John Lawrence. More pork trade, resulting from these pending agreements, would mean more jobs and more income.

Overall, the pork industry provides tremendous benefits to North Carolina. Otto and Lawrence estimate that the state had over $2.1 billion of gross receipts from hog sales in 2005. This helped support about 25,000 pork-related jobs in the state, ranging from input suppliers and producers to processors and handlers, as well as Main Street businesses.

Source: The Charlotte Observer

5m Editor