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NPPC Urges Action On Peru Trade Agreement

by 5m Editor
29 September 2007, at 9:37am

WASHINGTON, D.C. - At an event attended by USDA Acting Secretary Chuck Conner, the National Pork Producers Council today called on Congress to approve a free trade agreement between the United States and Peru that will benefit U.S. pork producers.

NPPC joined several other agricultural organizations – the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-Peru Trade – in urging lawmakers to take action on the Peru Trade Promotion Agreement. The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, which have jurisdiction over trade issues, recently “approved” the trade pact during mock markups.

Under the Peru TPA, tariffs would be reduced on all pork products, with some products receiving unlimited duty-free access on implementation of the agreement and many other products getting reductions over a five-year period. All pork tariffs would be phased out in 10 years. Currently, U.S. pork exports to Peru are restricted by duties as high as 25 percent. Significant sanitary and technical provisions are included in the agreement. The Peruvian government, for example, agreed in writing to recognize the meat inspection system of the United States as equivalent to its own.

An analysis conducted by Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes found that when the Peru agreement is fully phased in, U.S. live hog prices will be 83 cents a head higher than they otherwise would be in the absence of an agreement. Pork producers’ profits will rise by 7 percent.

“Congress should approve the Peru free trade agreement not only because it’s good for U.S. pork producers, all of agriculture and the U.S. economy,” said Joy Phillipi, NPPC past president and a pork producer from Bruning, Neb., “but also because it is a model agreement to which all future trade pacts can and should be patterned.”

The Peru agreement is expected to be the first of four pending free trade pacts to see congressional action. Free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea also are pending in Congress.

“The pending free trade agreements will be a powerful tool for opening agricultural markets to American producers,” said Secretary Conner. “Exports make the difference between profit and loss for many of our farmers and ranchers and these agreements level the playing field for our producers by eliminating barriers and opening the door to billions of dollars worth of increased trade.”

5m Editor