The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and United Egg Producers have announced their support for the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, which became effective on March 15, saying that it will greatly improve market access for U.S. poultry and egg exports to South Korea, mostly by reducing and eliminating import duties.

In 2011, Korea imported nearly $143 million in U.S. poultry and egg products. Under the agreement, annual U.S. poultry meat exports to Korea could more than double, while annual egg exports could triple. Over the first 10 years of the agreement, the increase in exports to Korea could easily make the U.S. one of the top international markets for U.S. poultry and eggs.

Under terms of the free trade agreement, Korea’s 20-percent import duty on frozen chicken leg quarters will be phased out in 10 equal annual reductions, while the duty on breasts and wings will be reduced in 12 equal annual installments. Korea’s 18-percent duty on frozen turkey cuts will be reduced to zero in seven equal annual installments, and its 27-percent duty on processed egg products, including egg yolks, will be phased out over 12 years.

The future of the U.S. poultry and egg industry depends on the continued expansion of exports, according to the organizations. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture calculations, the industry’s current annual exports of nearly $4.4 billion support more than 50,400 U.S. jobs, and each billion dollars in U.S. poultry and egg exports equates to about 11,525 American jobs throughout the economy.