The long negotiations have ended and the United States and South Korea have reached a resolution concerning the free-trade agreement between the two countries.

The National Pork Producers Council officials are applauding the Bush Administration and U.S. trade negotiators for completing a free-trade agreement, which includes an ambitious outcome for U.S. pork.

The trade deal will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new pork exports and ensure that U.S. pork exports to South Korea will be on an equal footing with pork from other countries. Chile, for example, has lower duties on its pork exports to Korea – and will have unlimited duty-free access by 2014 – because of the trade agreement it has with South Korea. That deal took effect in 2004.

“U.S. pork producers are excited about the new deal and will work very hard for congressional passage of the agreement,” says Jill Appell, NPPC president, a pork producer from Altona, Ill. “NPPC is very appreciative of the great results attained."

Appell also cites the efforts of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who “stood by our producers.”

“Korean negotiators wanted to minimize the market access gains for U.S. pork,” says Appell, “but the U.S. trade team came through for pork producers and delivered a fabulous deal that will eliminate duties on U.S. pork exports and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new pork exports.”

U.S. pork producers first gained meaningful market access to South Korea through the World Trade Organization Uruguay Round. Since that trade deal was implemented in 1995, U.S. pork exports to South Korea have increased 2,217 percent by volume and 2,606 percent by value. The country is now the fourth largest market for U.S. pork and pork products, and the United States is the No. 1 foreign supplier of pork to the Asian nation.

The trade deal with South Korea was made possible in part because of the effective working relationship between NPPC and the National Pork Board and their shared goal of increasing U.S. pork exports, say NPPC officials.

Source: National Pork Producers Council