Currently pending FTAs could benefit meat and poultry industry

By Melissa Coon

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, June 16 – Passage and implementation of three currently pending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) would represent an additional $2.3 billion in meat and poultry exports and the potential creation of 29,524 jobs, according to the American Meat Institute.

It is clear that the road to both robust job and economic growth lies in expanding America’s export markets,” said American Meat Institute President and CEO Patrick Boyle.

Boyle noted that the trade expansion between the U.S. and South Korea, Panama and Colombia have been awaiting Congressional approval for years, resulting in U.S. market share loss.

While the U.S. is waiting to enact these FTAs, our competitors are moving forward,” he said.

The agreements could increase U.S. exports of beef by $1.4 billion, pork by $772 million and poultry by $102 million. Additionally, an estimated 18,000 jobs in the beef industry, 10,300 in the pork industry and 1,200 jobs in the poultry industry would benefit from this growth.

According to the USDA’s Economic Research service and industry groups, for every $1 billion in beef exports, 12,700 jobs are created and for every $1 billion in pork exports, 13,333 jobs are created. Additionally, 11,853 jobs are created for every $1 billion in poultry exports.

The ERS predicts that U.S. meat exports will 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,” said Boyle.

The U.S. meat and poultry industry contributes about $832 to the U.S. economy, nearly 6 percent of the GDP. The industry employs 1.8 million people and pays $45.5 billion in wages and benefits.

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 aggluent, potential customers,” continued Boyle. “But if the United States is not there to fill their plates, other major exporting nations will.”

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