Bilateral FTAs Critical to Health of US Pork Industry

US - The National Pork Producers Council says the successful completion of bilateral free trade agreements with Pacific Rim nations and the European Union offer tremendous potential benefits for US pork producers, Bruce Cochrane writes.
calendar icon 1 July 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

The United States is currently involved in several bilateral free trade discussions including negotiations with Pacific Rim and European Union nations.

National Pork Producers Council president Randy Spronk notes over the past 20 years exports have increased to 25 per cent of US pork production so access to export markets is critical for the US pork industry.

Randy Spronk-National Pork Producers Council

The first one that is in the forefront would be TPP, Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership.

It's basically Pacific Rim Countries and obviously the jewel that's in that one would be Japan.
Japan is our number one value export customer currently.

There's over two billion dollars worth of pork products that go to Japan each and every year and, according to the economic analysis that we've seen, is if we can drop those tariff and those non-tariff trade barriers going into Japan, there's the opportunity to double that trade with Japan.

The EU, 27 countries of the European Union, it's the second largest consumer group in the world behind China.

We've been restricted from exporting our product to those countries through a combination of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers over the last several years.

We've made it very clear that we expect the tariffs to go to zero, that we should have the ability to bring our pork products into those European countries without tariffs on them.

The second one that's obviously very important is the non-tariff trade barriers that a lot of countries throw up, be it Ractopamine, be it Trichina, be it PRRS restrictions, that we also have the elimination of those non-tariff trade barriers so that we do truly have free trade back and forth.

Mr Spronk says everyone visualizes that the whole pig is exported to one country but there will often be a particular cut that goes to country A and another cut goes to country B.

He says every time the highest value can be obtained for each of those cuts it adds value to the producer back in the United States.

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