The U.S. and South Korea have concluded negotiations on a free trade agreement that has the potential to triple annual U.S. poultry exports to the other country.
In 2009, U.S. poultry exports to South Korea totaled roughly $46 million. With the new trade agreement in place, that number could increase to nearly $150 million a year, with exporters seeing a total of $750 million over the first ten years of the agreement. "We applaud the Administration's willingness to continue to expand horizons for U.S. food and agricultural trade," said the National Chicken Council in a statement.
Under the agreement, South Korea would phase out all tariffs of poultry and egg products (currently at 18% and 27%, respectively) over 10 to 12 years. South Korea already imports 57% of its broiler meat from the U.S. "The agreement with Korea will affirm a strong position for U.S. agriculture in Korea for decades to come," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Korea already has trade agreements in place with Chile, India and the 10-country ASEAN group, and is negotiating new FTAs with Canada, Australia, New Zealand and China. The U.S. agreement with Korea will put U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses on a more level playing field with competitors around the world."
Overall, U.S. agricultural exports to South Korea totaled nearly $5 billion in fiscal year 2010. The agreement is now awaiting Congressional approval.