The European Union's trade deal with South Korea went into effect on Friday. Now, some of the EU's pork products can enter the Asian country at a tariff rate lower than the same products from the United States. With the U.S.-South Korea FTA still languishing, the National Pork Producers Council is urging pork producers to contact their lawmakers to let them know that every day that passes the U.S. has lost market share in the Asian nation.
Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes estimates that the U.S.-South Korea FTA, when fully implemented, would generate $687 million in additional U.S. pork sales to South Korea, adding $10 to the price producers receive for each hog marketed and creating more than 9,000 pork industry jobs. Hayes calculates the U.S. pork industry will be completely out of the South Korean market within 10 years, should the U.S. fail to implement its FTA with South Korea.
Also urging lawmakers to act on the pending free trade agreements is the U.S. Grains Council, which voiced its hope that current disagreements could be resolved in a timely manner and move toward the critical step of ratification and implementation of these important trade initiatives.
"These agreements are essential to level the playing field for U.S. agriculture to take advantage of the vast opportunities to provide coarse grains and co-products in growing international markets in this hemisphere and Asia," said Terry Vinduska, USGC chairman.
Ratification of these FTAs will provide the opportunity to generate an additional $2.5 billion in exports of U.S. agricultural commodities and value-added products.
"These agreements are critical to U.S. agricultural competitiveness; we cannot afford to wait any longer. Their ratification will send a clear signal to our global partners and interests about the United States' commitment to trade and the global marketplace," explained Rebecca Bratter, USGC vice president of international operations.
Vinduska affirmed: "With each of these trading partners negotiating trade agreements with our competitors, it is imperative that we move forward and complete these FTAs as soon as possible."