We have had trade issues, and we have had trade victories. Such victories include the South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), and the pledge to build a free-trade agreement with Japan. Iowa farmers have been on a visit to both countries this week.
Members of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) were part of a group which traveled to Japan and South Korea. This trip was sponsored by the Iowa Department of Economic Development. IPPA CEO Pat McGonegle says it is important to put a face to Iowa pork products.
McGonegle says while both countries view U.S. Pork as a quality and reliable product, we must contend with more friendly trade competition.
South Korea is our biggest pork importer, and the numbers keep growing according to Lawler, Iowa producer Dale Reicks.
Reicks says we need to be urgent, yet diligent on getting a trade agreement done with Japan.
McGonegle says the tariff situation isn’t making talks more difficult, but the increased market competition is driving the need for the U.S. to be more aggressive in marketing and delivering a quality product.
Iowa State University Economist Lee Schultz says the KORUS agreement has led to favorable tariff rates on U.S. Pork. The fresh market currently has a 6.7% tariff which will dwindle to zero by 2021, and the frozen product has a zero percent tariff rate. South Korea imports 98% frozen pork products.
Schultz says with the amount of pork and beef we export, these are significant markets with whom to have agreements.