On Thursday, the Bush Administration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and other congressional leaders reached a bipartisan deal to move forward on free-trade agreements that will significantly increase U.S. pork exports. The Administration and the Congress agreed to add, through legally binding mechanisms, labor and environmental standards to pending and future trade agreements.

 The FTA deal paves the way for votes on bilateral-free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, Peru and South Korea, notes the National Pork Producers Council. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, each of those four trade pacts are estimated to increase U.S. live-hog prices per hog by $1.63, 20 cents, 83 cents, and $10, respectively, when fully implemented.

 “We appreciate the hard work of USTR Ambassador Susan Schwab and Speaker Pelosi and other congressional leaders in unlocking the stalemate on trade,” says Jill Appell, NPPC president. “NPPC is eager to see pork producers reap the benefits of these FTAs.  We would like to see all four pending FTAs approved by Congress prior to the August recess.  

 “Increasing export markets through international trade agreements is vital to the profitability of U.S. pork producers, and we will fight hard to get these pending FTAs approved,” Appell added.

 Source: National Pork Producers Council