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WPX 2010: Call for FTAs to be Ratified

10 June 2010, at 8:08pm

US - The US pig meat industry has called for the swift ratification of free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to help US producers, writes ThePigSite senior editor, Chris Harris.

World trade offers a huge opportunity for US pork producers past president of the National Pork Producers' Council (NPPC), Don Butler, said during the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa.

Last year, the US exported $4.3 billion, adding $38 to the value of each pig that was marketed, he said.

However, producers were still losing about $24 per head, he added.

"For the industry to remain viable and prosper, it needs to trade and the best way is through free trade agreements," said Mr Butler.

He added that the NPPC is backing President Obama's drive for exports and he called for the FTAs that are on file to be ratified immediately.

He said that through trade with Colombia and Panama, a small amount would be added to the US pork producers' income, but South Korea could add around $10 a head.

He said that studies have shown that the FTA with South Korea could add 9,000 jobs to the pork industry.

However, he warned that if the FTAs were not ratified, then the export markets might be lost for ever as other countries would come in to take their place.

He said that Korea has an FTA with Chile and one pending with Europe, which both threaten US exports.

"If they are not ratified, the US will lose money and jobs," said Mr Butler.

He added that while the reopening of the Chinese market after a year-long ban over H1N1 influenza offered long term prospects for the US pork producers, South Korea offers strong medium-term rewards if the FTA were to be ratified soon.