WPX 2010: Korean Minister Urges FTA Implementation

US - Korean Economic Affairs Minister Jong Hyun Choi has backed calls by the National Pork Producers Council for ratification of the Korea-US free trade agreement, writes ThePigSite senior editor Chis Harris.
calendar icon 11 June 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Mr Choi, speaking at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, said the FTA will bring tremendous benefits to both countries.

"It was signed three years ago, but it has been sitting in congress and has not been implemented," said.

"I believe it should be implemented as soon as possible. It will bring tremendous benefits to the US pork industry."

He repeated figures, quoted by the National Pork Producers Council from economist Dr Dermot Hayes at Iowa State University, that the US pork industry had been losing $20 a head in recent years but the FTA could produce a benefit of $10 a head in 10 years.

He said that the US was a crucial trading partner of South Korea and implementing the FTA would strengthen the bond between the two countries.

He added that it meant reducing tariffs of between 22.5 peer cent and 25 per cent on pork imports with the tariffs being eliminated by 2014.

He said that the Chilean pig meat industry has seen a tremendous advantage through a free trade agreement with South Korea.

"When you look at the cost of not implementing the free trade agreement, you will be surprised," he said.

He warned that the Chilean FTA and one being proposed with the EU could see the US, one of Korea's largest pig meat trading countries, lose the market altogether.

He added that South Korea is negotiating eight further trade agreements including ones with New Zealand, Australia and China and a tri-partite agreement with China and Japan.

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