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Ambassador Kirk Commended on USTR Confirmation

by 5m Editor
19 March 2009, at 9:36am

US - The National Pork Producers Council congratulated former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk on his confirmation as ambassador for the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR). The US Senate yesterday voted 92-5 to confirm him.


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"We’ll be looking to Ambassador Kirk to hold those countries’ feet to the fire to live up to their trade agreements. Our trading partners need to play by the rules."
Nick Giordano, NPPC Vice President and International Trade Counsel

"During his political career, Ron Kirk has worked with both sides of the political aisle and is known as a coalition builder, attributes that will serve him well at USTR," said NPPC President Don Butler. "NPPC looks forward to working with Ambassador Kirk on many important pork trade issues, and we will continue to promote an aggressive trade agenda in Washington."

NPPC hopes to work closely with Ambassador Kirk to keep open to US pork exports important markets such as China, Mexico, Russia and Taiwan. The organization also looks forward to a successful conclusion to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha Round negotiations. NPPC’s biggest objective in those multilateral trade talks is significant new market access for US pork in the European Union and in Japan.

The organization was heartened by the new ambassador’s vow to enforce existing trade rules, especially given some countries’ – China and Russia, for example – use of dubious sanitary and phytosanitary claims to block US pork imports.

"We’ll be looking to Ambassador Kirk to hold those countries’ feet to the fire to live up to their trade agreements," said NPPC Vice President and International Trade Counsel Nick Giordano. "Our trading partners need to play by the rules."

NPPC also will be urging the new ambassador to press for congressional action on pending free trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The Korean agreement alone would raise live hog prices by more than $10 per animal when fully implemented.

Trade has been vital to the US pork industry. In 2008, US producers exported nearly a quarter of all pork production or more than 2 million metric tons of pork worth nearly $5 billion. Much of the growth in US pork exports – 2008 was the 17th consecutive record year of exports – can be attributed to market access gained through trade agreements.