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AMI Guest Op-Ed: U.S.-Korean Trade Agreement Could Be Golden Opportunity for Meat and Poultry Processors

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

(American Meat Institute)

“The U.S. Korean Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), if ratified, would be the biggest shot in the arm to the meat and poultry industry since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994,” said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle in a recent guest editorial on meatpoultry.com.

Boyle noted that for the pork industry, passage of the KORUS will mean that by the time tariffs are phased out, Korea will be the largest U.S. export market, doubling the amount of pork we currently sell to our largest foreign customer, Japan. In the U.S., this would result in an additional $687 million worth of pork exports, creating an additional 9,161 U.S. jobs.

For the poultry industry, Boyle said it’s an equally appealing picture. Passage of the KORUS could triple U.S poultry exports to Korea to more than $150 million, or 125,000 tons annually. Over the first 10 years of this agreement, an additional $58 million in exports are expected to be generated along with the creation of 687 new American jobs.

For the beef industry, which is still working to regain overseas markets that were lost when Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) was first discovered in the U.S. in 2003, Boyle said the KORUS represents a promise of hope. Passage and full implementation of the KORUS would mean an additional $1.3 billion in beef exports, creating an additional 17,000 badly needed American jobs.

Boyle also noted that while some have said that the U.S. could have negotiated a better deal or that the phase-in period is too long, the fact is that it has taken this country four years to negotiate this deal, and it now requires Congressional approval.

“Every minute that we spend renegotiating this agreement or pushing for additional changes, trade blocks like the 10-member federation in Southeast Asia, ASEAN, and the 27-member federation of European countries in the EU – which already have free trade agreements with Korea – are solidifying their presence in this lucrative market and building customer loyalty to their domestic brands,” Boyle said.

“If the U.S. meat and poultry industry wants to continue to prosper and grow, our best option is to cultivate and harvest these overseas markets. Failure to ratify this agreement will leave the U.S. industry sitting in the port while our competitors set sail with their products to Seoul,” Boyle concluded.

To view the op-ed in its entirety, click here: http://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/65117

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