National Pork Producers Council President Jon Caspers, noting the importance of securing additional market access for U.S. pork products, urged Congressional leaders on Wednesday to work toward a swift and successful vote on the Free-Trade Agreement with Chile.

“Our two main global competitors, Canada and the European Union, already have trade agreements with Chile that provide preferential access for pork,” says Caspers, pork producer from Swaledale, Iowa. “Tariffs on all pork and pork products will drop to zero immediately upon implementation of the U.S./Chile Free-Trade Agreement. In the meantime, however, we continue to be shut out of the Chilean market because of the tariff disadvantage. Every day that goes by provides more opportunities for EU and Canadian producers at U.S. producers' expense." He contends that by quickly passing the Chile Free-Trade Agreement, Congress can help facilitate new market opportunities for U.S. pork and offer products that will help raise live-hog prices.

According to Caspers, U.S. pork producers are painfully aware of the need to expand foreign market access such as into Chile. “The average U.S. pork producer lost money for 18-straight months prior to May,” he notes. “Although those losses were attributable largely to the dynamics of the hog cycle, there's no question that live-hog prices can be positively impacted by finding new markets."

NPPC and its 44 state affiliate associations will be working with pork producers across the country to press for prompt implementation of this recent agreement, he adds. 

National Pork Producers Council