Background Banner

Congress Approves Free Trade Agreements

Published: Oct 13, 2011
UPDATED Oct. 13, 2011: On Wednesday evening, Oct. 12, both houses of the U.S. Congress approved free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that have the potential to boost U.S. exports by as much as $13 billion per year and support the creation of tens of thousands of American jobs.

The FTA with South Korea will produce the largest benefits for the pork and beef industries. It is estimated that the reduction of beef duties will help boost U.S. exports to Korea to more than $1 billion per year over the 15-year FTA implementation period versus $518 million in 2010. Pork exports to Korea are projected to more than double from the 2010 level of $190 million by 2016 due to the elimination of Korea’s duties on imports from the United States.

Pork exports to Colombia are projected to nearly double to $36 million by 2016 while beef exports over the next 10 years would likely reach $30 million versus $1.9 million last year.

Red meat exports to Panama are expected to more than double, topping $9 million for beef over the coming 15 years, and $20 million for pork by 2016.

“Our members have been outspoken to us that approving these free trade agreements is the highest priority for our industry,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “A critical factor in the United States’ ability to maintain the current pace of exports is opening markets and eliminating tariffs, and these agreements make a significant contribution to meeting that objective.

“As the House and the Senate prepared to vote on these agreements, our members helped ensure that their Congressmen understood the importance of these FTAs to U.S. pork and beef exports and to employment across the agricultural sector,” Seng said.