The National Pork Producers Council is extremely pleased that President Obama has made passage of the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement a top priority. NPPC President Sam Carney, a producer from Adair, Iowa, says the industry depends on exports. Last year 20% of pork production was exported and free trade agreements are how those numbers increase. And more exports mean more profits and more jobs.
According to the NPPC, the U.S.-South Korea FTA, which also must be approved by the South Korean National Assembly, would be one of the most lucrative for the U.S. pork industry. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, by the end of the FTA's 10-year phase-in period, total U.S. pork exports to South Korea will be almost 600,000 metric tons. That represents nearly twice the current U.S. export level to Japan, now the top value market for the U.S pork industry.
It is also projected that the South Korean FTA will lift live hog prices by $10 per animal and will generate an additional $687 million in U.S. pork exports. South Korea alone will absorb 5% of total U.S. pork production. The U.S.-South Korea FTA is one of three trade deals that are pending approval by Congress. Agreements with Colombia and Panama also have been awaiting action for more than three years.