The United States and Australia reached a free-trade deal.  The deal does not cover many of the contentious agricultural issues that drew out the negotiation process and is therefore expected to run into less opposition in the U.S. Congress.

The National Pork Producers Council welcomed the announcement.

“Although U.S. pork producers do not have a compelling interest in tariff reductions in this agreement given that tariffs in Australia are already zero on many pork products, NPPC consistently supports free trade agreements such as this one,” says Jon Caspers, NPPC president.

  However, Caspers, cautioned that U.S. producers would not be able to support Congressional passage of the free trade amendment with Australia until that country finalizes its risk assessment on pork and accepts U.S. pork exports.

“Australia is a huge potential market for U.S. pork producers, but I must underscore that as of now it is only a potential market,” says Casper. “We are pleased that Australia issued a preliminary Import Risk Analysis on pork in August 2003, but a final analysis must be completed. This support of U.S. pork producers for the Australian free trade agreement is contingent upon Australia completing its technical work and opening its market to U.S. pork.”

National Pork Producers Council