Efforts by the U.S. and South Korea are moving ahead to modernize the 2011 Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, KORUS, a key trade agreement for the U.S. pork and beef industries. The South Korean government sent its parliament a plan to renegotiate KORUS and announced it’s ready to start talks. The White House must tell Congress it plans to launch the talks, hold two public hearings, and disclose its negotiating goals 30-days before talks begin.
The U.S. pork and beef industries are watching KORUS developments closely, concerned as with NAFTA, that producers could lose existing tariff gains if U.S. negotiators bargain ag for manufacturing wins, or even abandon KORUS.
“We have seen our exports to South Korea go up,” says National Pork Producer’s spokesman Dave Warner. “Las year we sold $365 million worth of pork to South Korea, making it the number 5 foreign destination for U.S. pork.”
That provides a big market for high-value internal organ cuts not eaten much in the U.S. American beef sales in number-two buyer Korea were up more than 80-percent to around one billion dollars, as tariffs move to zero over 10-years. Warner says the US needs more, not fewer trade agreements…tape
“The US pork industry is kind of the poster child for that. We sell more pork to the twenty countries with which the United States has free trade agreements, than we do to the rest of the world combined. So, obviously free trade agreements work.”
Agriculture is a U.S. economic sector that, unlike most others, has a foreign trade surplus. The challenge, of course, is convincing the White House to protect tariff gains, at a time when actual or possible losses in NAFTA or the U.S. TPP pull-out are foremost on producers’ minds.
Source: NAFB news