USMEF Officer Says Concluding Free Trade Deal with South Korea Should Be an Urgent Priority of the Obama AdministrationThu, 08 Jul 2010 6:53:45 CDT
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is encouraged by the Obama Administration's recent announcement of its intention to press forward on Congressional ratification of the pending U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Currently, Korean tariffs are 40 percent on U.S. beef and 25 percent on most U.S. pork products. The FTA will phase out tariffs on U.S. beef over the course of 15 years, while tariffs would be eliminated on frozen and processed U.S. pork by 2014 and on chilled pork within 10 years.
US President Barack Obama continues to talk about getting into gear on this agreement with South Korea- as he emphasized that the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement will create opportunities for both nations. During a speech at the White House on Wednesday the president revealed his plan to ratify trade deals with Korea, Panama and Colombia as soon as possible.
Obama said the trade pact between Seoul and Washington will create jobs in both countries and added that he has ordered top US trade negotiators to resume working-level talks in order to adjust some provisions that have yet to be finalized, before his visit to Korea in November.
USMEF Chairman-elect Keith Miller, a farmer-stockman from Great Bend, Kan., says ratification of the U.S.-Korea FTA is especially urgent because competitors are rapidly gaining an advantage in this key market. Korea recently completed its fifth round of FTA negotiations with Australia, which is its largest foreign provider of beef. Chile, which already has an FTA in place that has lowered the tariffs assessed by Korea, has captured 14 percent of Korea's imported pork market and Chile's pork exports to Korea have increased 22 percent compared to last year. We hear from Miller on this Beef Buzz.
By value, Korea is this year's fourth-largest destination for U.S. beef exports (through April, $112.3 million) and fifth-largest for U.S. pork ($69.5 million). The United States is Korea's largest foreign provider of pork and second-largest provider of beef.
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