Government subsidy programs for Canadian pork producers have put U.S. producers at “a serious competitive disadvantage,” according to  R.C. Hunt, president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Hunt, a pork producer from Wilson, N.C., made the statement in a letter to Congress sent last week opposing Canada’s participation in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.

According to Hunt’s letter, the subsidies are in violation of World Trade Organization rules and a U.S. countervailing duty law. The Canadian government provides income supplementation to Canadian pork producers while U.S. producers receive no such support.

According to analysis by Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, within 10 years of the implementation of Canada’s new Ontario Risk Management Program (RMP), 1,299 U.S. jobs may be eliminated and U.S. pork production value could decrease by $162 million.

“The RMP is just one of Canada’s support programs, all of which have a substantial negative impact on U.S. pork producers,” wrote Hunt in the letter. “The willingness of the Canadian government to repeal these trade-distorting hog and pork programs must be part of (U.S. Trade Representative’s) assessment of Canada’s eligibility for membership in the TPP negotiations. Unless Canada undertakes such a commitment, the United States should not consent to its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks.”

NPPC will remain opposed to Canada’s inclusion in the TPP until the country eliminates its pork industry subsidies, according to the letter.

Click here to read the letter.