NPPC Tells Lawmakers U.S. Must Open New and Expand Existing Export Markets for Farmers to be Successful

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Washington, DC, May 11, 2023 – Lori Stevermer, a Minnesota pork producer and President-Elect for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), testified before the House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Foreign Agriculture, and Horticulture as part of its hearing on “Stakeholder Perspectives on Agriculture Trade.”

“Trade is vital to America’s pork producers, and exports continue to be a bright spot for our industry even during tough times,” said Stevermer. “Our success largely comes from our ability to produce the world’s safest, most nutritious, and affordable pork products, as well as from fair and unfettered access to foreign markets negotiated through comprehensive trade agreements.”

U.S. pork exports increased more than 1,850 percent in value and more than 1,560 percent in volume since 1989, the year the U.S. implemented its first substantial free trade agreement. By 1995, the United States had moved from a net importer to a net exporter of pork.

“It is very clear that comprehensive trade deals are why we have been, on average, the top pork exporter in the world over the past decade,” added Stevermer. “For the United States and America’s pig farmers to stay on top, we need more trade deals that eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. products to allow for the free flow of goods and expand export markets.”

Last year, pork farmers exported nearly $7.7 billion worth of pork to more than 100 countries. These exports supported 155,000 mostly rural U.S. jobs and added $14.5 billion to the country’s GDP. These exports equated to approximately $61, in value for each hog marketed in 2022.

In her testimony, Stevermer outlined the U.S. pork industry’s top trade policy priorities:

  1. Negotiate comprehensive trade agreements that eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers.
  2. Expand market access in the Asia-Pacific region, including having China remove its 25 percent retaliatory tariff on pork.
  3. Leverage and renew U.S. preferential trade programs.
  4. Address the country’s labor shortage.
  5. Support efforts to keep the United States free from African swine fever by adequately funding federal agencies that deal with foreign animal diseases.

Lori Stevermer’s full testimony can be found here.