The National Pork Producers Council wants  Congress to support free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, Peru and Panama. The deals will eliminate tariffs and barriers to trade that currently limit U.S. pork products from going into those countries.

In a letter sent to every member of Congress, NPPC pointed out the benefits of trade to the U.S. economy, generally, and the pork industry, specifically. According to IowaStateUniversity economists, pork exports, which in 2006 accounted for 15 percent of domestic pork production, generated 82,500 U.S. jobs in the pork industry alone. Most of those jobs are located in rural America.

In all, the U.S. pork industry supports an estimated 550,000 domestic jobs, generates more than $97.4 billion annually in total U.S. economic activity and contributes $34.5 billion to the U.S. gross national product.

When fully implemented, the free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, Peru and Panama, will raise U.S. live hog prices (per head) by $10, $1.63, 83 cents and 20 cents, respectively.

“Pork exports have contributed greatly to the profitability of U.S. pork producers in recent years,” says NPPC President Jill Appell, a pork producer from Altona, Ill. “NPPC urges [Congress] to support the trade agreements with the Republic of Korea, Colombia, Peru and Panama and thereby improve the financial livelihood of pork producers throughout the nation.”

 Source: National Pork Producers Council