The Bush Administration announced on Thursday that the United States and Chile have come to terms on a Free Trade Agreement.

Specific to pork, according to the new trade deal, once it's implemented all Chilean tariffs on pork and pork products will immediately be reduced to zero. However, Dave Roper, National Pork Producers Council president, points out in order for the United States to begin shipping pork to Chile under the agreement, the Chileans must complete their regulatory analysis of the U.S. meat inspection system.

“We understand that the regulatory process in Chile is moving along, and that these types of reviews are conducted under their own merits, separate from trade negotiations," says Roper. "We are confident that the Chileans will recognize our meat inspection system and accept pork from all USDSA-approved facilities.”

Roper went on to say: “Our future depends on expanding access for U.S. pork in foreign markets. Since 1995, when the Uruguay Round Agreement went into effect, U.S. pork exports to the world have increased 137 percent."

The Kimberly, Idaho, producer points out that while the pork industry remains focused on the World Trade Organization agriculture negotiations to provide the greatest potential payoff, NPPC supports a variety of trade agreements. "This one with Chile provides new opportunity to our producers,” says Roper.

Roper applaudes President Bush for his aggressive trade agenda, as well as U.S. Trade Representative Ambassadors, USDA Secretary Ann Veneman and their respective staffs for their work on the issue.

National Pork Producers Council.