February 6, 2006

 

South Korea FTA will boost US pork exports

 

 

A free-trade agreement (FTA) between the US and South Korea could boost already robust US pork exports to South Korea.

 

South Korea is the sixth-largest export market for US pork and pork products.

 

Since the implementation of the WTO Uruguay Round trade agreement in 1995, US pork exports to South Korea have risen by 492 percent. Meanwhile, a major competitor to the US pork industry, Chile, has recently signed a FTA with South Korea.

 

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in the US believes there is room for expansion for US exports to the South Korean market. NPPC said the Bush administration was instrumental in starting bilateral free-trade negotiations with South Korea.

 

NPPC president Don Buhl said having a FTA with South Korea is imperative for US pork producers since further growth of the South Korean market is being affected by increasing South Korean imports of Chilean pork.

 

Since the Chile-South Korean FTA took effect in 2004, Chile has been enjoying declining Korean import tariffs on Chilean pork products. By 2014, Chilean pork will have unlimited duty-free access.

 

NPPC said it supports an ambitious FTA agreement with South Korea, where pork makes up 44 percent of daily meat consumption. The council believes South Korea will increase in imports of many cuts of US pork, such as bellies and butts.

 

Buhl said the council will work with the US Trade Representative to draw a FTA with South Korea that benefits US pork producers.

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