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Free Trade Agreements: Potential Revenue and Jobs for America's Meat and Poultry Industry

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Washington, D.C. -- Passage and implementation of the three Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)  currently pending would represent an additional $2.3 billion in meat and poultry exports and the potential creation of  29,524 new jobs, according to a white paper released today by the American Meat Institute (AMI). 

“It is clear that the road to both robust job and economic growth lies in expanding America’s export markets,” said J. Patrick Boyle, president and CEO of the American Meat Institute (AMI).  Boyle noted that the trade expansion deals between the U.S. and South Korea, Panama and Colombia have been awaiting Congressional approval for years and the U.S. is losing market share as a result.  “While the U.S. is waiting to enact these FTAs, our competitors are moving forward,” said Boyle.

The data reveal that passage of the agreements could increase U.S. exports of beef by $1.4 billion, pork by $772 million and poultry by $102 million.  The jobs resulting from this growth, both in the commodity groups and downstream, would include an estimated 18,000 jobs in the beef industry, 10,300 jobs in the pork industry and 1,200 jobs in the poultry industry. Trade numbers are based on projections from the respective commodity groups.  Job creation data is based on employment multiplier projections from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and industry groups which estimate:

In 2009, the value of exported meat, poultry and related products totaled $11.7 billion, up from $9.4 billion in 2007.  According to ERS, U.S. meat exports are predicted to rise over the next decade, from 5.9 million metric tons in 2009 to nearly 7.1 million metric tons in 2019. “However, if we are going to realize this potential, we need to pass these trade agreements and move forward on expanding our export markets as well as exploring new trade opportunities,” noted Boyle.

The U.S. meat and poultry industry contributes about $832 billion in total to the U.S. economy, nearly 6 percent of the GDP.  The industry directly employs 1.8 million people, paying $45.5 billion in wages and benefits.  An estimated 524,000 people have jobs in production and packing, importing operations, sales, packaging and direct distribution of meat and poultry products.  Wholesaling directly employs an estimated 63,000 individuals in every state in the country, and 1,227,600 retail jobs depend on the sale of meat and poultry products to the public.

“With meat and poultry consumption rising in many nations around the world as a result of economic development and population growth, we have millions of increasingly affluent, potential customers,” noted Boyle.  “But,” he added, “If the United States is not there to fill their plates, other major exporting nations will.”


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